Klopp plays it cool as Liverpool run riot
Liverpool (AFP) –
Jurgen Klopp called for calm after Liverpool's comprehensive 4-0 win over Newcastle helped extend the club's lead at the top of the Premier League to six points.
Liverpool have been waiting since 1990 to win the English top-flight title and this season appears to be one of their best opportunities to end that long hiatus.
Their victory over abject Newcastle at Anfield on Wednesday came courtesy of four different scorers - Dejan Lovren, Mohamed Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho - which helps underline Liverpool's current prowess.
And Liverpool were also helped by Manchester City's faltering form as the champions lost at Leicester, meaning Klopp's men comfortably head the Premier League table from Tottenham, who moved above City with a 5-0 win over Bournemouth.
However, any idea that Klopp is getting carried away with Liverpool's current league position was soon waved away by the German.
"The six-point lead means nothing," he said.
"We play Arsenal and City. It's good that we have six points more than other teams, or seven, but that is pretty much all.
"What we wanted to do all the time was create a basis for the rest of the season.
"Now the first part of the season is over. We want to create our own history.
"It is the first Liverpool team in the Premier League unbeaten (at halfway). We have conceded seven goals, all good numbers, but there are 19 games to go."
Anfield was a cauldron of noise towards the end as it became clear that City's loss had helped Liverpool's cause.
But Klopp claimed he had no idea of the significance of that result.
"I'm naive," he said. "When I heard the cheers I thought 'that's nice'. I didn't realise it was for another result! Obviously nobody told our crowd that Tottenham won 5-0.
"I had no idea how any other teams were playing, I didn't even know where they were playing so afterwards I got the results and I can say it didn't do a lot with me.
"It's just information. We have to win our games, we have to be focused, we need to be really in the mood with having tunnel vision.
"That's really important and then we will see where it leads us."
- Twisted the knife -
Newcastle made six changes from the side that failed to register a single shot on goal in their last match against Fulham, but the change of personnel did nothing for the form of the north-east side.
Liverpool took the lead after just 11 minutes when Lovren powered home a half-volley following a poor headed clearance from Jamaal Lascelles.
Anfield remained restless until straight after the break when Paul Dummett tugged Salah's shirt, prompting a soft-looking penalty that the Egyptian comfortably slotted past Martin Dubravka.
Liverpool grew ever more confident once they had a two-goal lead and they really twisted the knife towards the end, as Xherdan Shaqiri clipped home from close range after 79 minutes before Fabinho nodded home a fourth to really hurt the visitors.
This was an afternoon to forget for Rafael Benitez, whose side were humbled at the stadium where he remains a fans' favourite and the Newcastle manager believes his old team can win the Premier League.
"Liverpool showed that they are good enough to win the title," he said.
"They're a very good team, very good squad, to win a league title you need to be consistent and they can do it."
When discussing his own side's showing, Benitez admitted he was lost for words as to how they had managed to lose by such a scoreline.
"It is difficult to explain when you lose a game in the way we lost," he said.
"We started well, we had our chance, we didn't take our chance, but we were in the game against a very good team."
? 2018 AFP