Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he will not be calling Steven Gerrard to talk with him about Aston Villa’s clash with Manchester City on Sunday, the day which will decide this year’s champions. But Klopp has vowed to City that even if the Reds miss out on Premier League glory this season by very fine margins, they will “not stop trying” next year.
The Reds go into the final match of the season one point behind Pep Guardiola’s side and need to beat Wolves at Anfield and hope that Villa can get at least a draw against reigning champions City at the Etihad.
City, seeking a fourth title in five seasons under Guardiola, are unbeaten against Villa since September 2013 and have not dropped a single point against them in the Premier League since November 2015. And Klopp insists if City are victorious again, his Carabao Cup and FA Cup winners – who may also yet win the Champions League a week on Sunday – will not give up chasing more titles in future seasons.
But the German won’t be calling up Liverpool legend Gerrard, the club’s iconic former captain, to discuss Villa’s match against City this weekend. He said: “Stevie will take it 100 per cent seriously, I am sure, without me calling him or whatever, I don’t have. The rest of the club probably already did it but I didn’t.”
Klopp instead insists he is solely focused on the visit of Wolves, who clinched a draw at Chelsea earlier this month. He added: “This [City vs Villa] is the game I am not concerned about, not thinking about, at all. Of all the things we speak about it is completely disrespectful to Wolves. They don’t want to come here and be part of our celebrations. They come here and want to get three points, definitely. We have to be ready for this game, not the other one.”
In a pointed message to City, Klopp added: “We will not stop trying [to win the league]. Yes, we have the best opponent in world football, which is a bit of a shame, but they have us in their neck, which is not too cool as well. So let’s see.”
Gerrard famously never lifted the title in his 17 seasons with the Reds and admitted his phone has “been busy” this week, knowing he can effectively win his old club the league. The Villa boss said: “In terms of Liverpool, I totally understand and respect the external noise and the questions that have been coming my way for some time.
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“They’re involved in a title race, and I spent a lot of time there. It is disappointing when people mention integrity and aim it towards me or any of my players. We’ll give it everything to try and get points for Aston Villa and our supporters. If that inevitably helps Liverpool, fantastic. But my priority is to try and get points for Aston Villa.
“They’re [City are] at the top of the league for a reason. They’re at the latter stages of the Champions League for a reason. They’ve got world-class players and a top manager, but there is a lot of pressure on them at the weekend.
“We will go there as best prepared as we can and try and make it as difficult as we can. Why? Because we want to be in a better place than 14th. When I played there was a lot of talk about the top four and for a period that became a top six. But I think it has become quite clear City and Liverpool have been the strongest teams for a long time now and there is a gap forming.”