London, February 20: Jurgen Klopp hopes Liverpool can have a little more luck with regards to injuries next season, believing a full-strength squad would see them sitting much closer to runaway leaders Manchester City. Liverpool finished 18 points clear of second-place City in the 2019-20 Premier League season as they ended a 30-year wait to be crowned champions again. However, while they have struggled in the defence of their title, Pep Guardiola’s squad are once again the team to beat.
They set a new record with Wednesday’s 3-1 triumph at Everton, becoming the first top-flight team to start a calendar year with 10 straight league victories. The Reds’ focus has switched to finishing in the top four – they sit in fifth place ahead of Saturday’s Merseyside derby, 16 points behind City – but Klopp feels such a huge gap would not have existed if he had key players available. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have been long-term absentees, with fellow centre-back Joel Matip now out for the rest of the season. Diogo Jota, meanwhile, has not featured since December 9, while Naby Keita is only just nearing a return having yet to make an appearance in 2021. Asked in his pre-match media conference about what it will take to be closer to City next season, Klopp replied: “We don’t have to think about that now.
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