After a tense 2-1 victory over West Ham United at the London Stadium, Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp dismissed suggestions that his team is in the race for the top four
The Reds extended their Premier League winning streak to three games in the capital, thanks to goals from Cody Gakpo and Joel Matip following Lucas Paqueta’s opener.
In the first half, Brazilian playmaker Paqueta scored a stunning opener for the Hammers, but Gakpo responded with his own long-range strike to draw the visitors level.
West Ham remained a threat on the break and had a goal by Jarrod Bowen ruled out for offside before Matip’s bullet header turned the tie on its head for the Reds.
Liverpool moved up to sixth place in the table with the win at the London Stadium, but they are still six points behind Manchester United – who have two games in hand – for the final Champions League spot.
With a win over Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday night, Manchester United could extend their lead to nine points, while Ryan Mason’s side will relegate Liverpool to seventh place with at least a draw.
As a result, Klopp has refused to talk up his team’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League, instead focusing solely on the Premier League.
I can’t see the race just yet. That’s because we’re not in a position to compete. So the only thing we can do is win football games,” the German said following the game.
“If that puts pressure on other teams, we have no control over that because we don’t play them.” We play Tottenham – that’s it, I believe, from the teams above us. We’re done if they win all of their games. But I don’t consider it. I want us to finish the season as strong as possible.
“I’d like to take something away from the season for next year.” If that is European competition, that is fantastic. If not, we must accept it and move on.
Liverpool survived a late penalty shout at the London Stadium when the ball struck Thiago Alcantara’s hand in the area, prompting David Moyes to yell angrily with Chris Kavanagh after the final whistle.
“I thought he just fell on the ball, but I can see Moyesy seeing things differently.” In the end, if you look at the game, I believe we are the deserving winners, and that is very important to me.”
Meanwhile, Matip was making his 11th Premier League start of the season in place of Ibrahima Konate, who missed out due to a niggle, but Klopp does not expect the Frenchman to be out for long.
“Ibou had the opportunity to play. He’s not injured, but in the last two or three weeks, he’s had to rest for two days, one day, then half a session, and so on,” Klopp said of Konate.
“I thought we needed to make sure he could recover properly and wasn’t injured, so we left him at home completely.” That’s pretty much it.”
Liverpool now have three full days to rest before hosting fellow top-four outsiders Tottenham at Anfield on Sunday.