Jürgen Klopp discussed the situation at the top of the Premier League, the need for everybody at Liverpool to ‘fight’ in the clash with Bournemouth, a target for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and more during his pre-match press conference…

On the title race…

It’s obviously getting exciting now. There was never a doubt it would happen, that was always clear. I don’t think anybody thought we would be top of the league with 12 points between us and another team with three games to go. It was always clear it would be tight until the end. The good news is we are still in there. But the only chance to improve our position – even when it’s a good position – is by winning football games. We have another chance tomorrow, even though it’s a very tough game against a really good side. That’s the plan, actually.

On the benefits of a big atmosphere at Anfield…

I think I never left in doubt how much I appreciate the support and how much I believe in the help of the support. It’s always a massive plus. I was asked a little bit about it after the last home game; really there was nothing to moan about, it was kind of a nervy game. We had that before, that’s how it is. We were 1-0 up and then they scored for 1-1, it was a difficult game and all that stuff. That’s completely normal. We know about the job, we know we have to perform on the highest level, fight for every yard, we have to really dig in and all that stuff, that’s clear. Then our crowd is there. I’m not sure if I experienced yet that the supporters are there early. It’s completely different to Germany, a lot of them are there for one-and-a-half hours. But I’m long enough here to get used to it, that’s no problem. But of course it would be nice.

When I said it’s getting exciting, that’s how it is. It was always clear there would be games where you really have to keep your nerves, everybody on the stand and on the pitch – we had that in the past and will have that in the future, that’s part of the game. The good thing is we pretty much know what we have to do, we on the pitch and the people in the stands. I’m really looking forward to it. I know it’s a three o’clock kick-off, it’s not dark that early anymore, so I’m not sure if we’ll need the floodlights. But we can create an outstanding atmosphere and everybody who saw matches in the past knows how big the influence is. I don’t know if I have to ask for it or whatever but I can only say, whoever wants us to succeed in this game and in general and wants to help, I don’t have the English saying for it – it’s like shouting your soul onto the pitch, that’s how we say it in German.

It’s a big one, like all the others. We have 15-plus games left, that’s the decisive third of the season. We created a basis for this finish, a very good basis and we had a few problems injury-wise and illness-wise. That led to a not perfect performance. That’s all clear. But everybody is fighting for something in the league: the best position in the last couple of years, Europa League, the Champions League or the championship. We respect that always. We have to show it on the pitch that we are really ready to fight and the people on the stand have to show that they are ready to fight as well, if they want to show it.

On the external talk about Liverpool’s last two results and their standing in the title race…

The funny thing about that is I didn’t read it, I didn’t watch it and I still know it! That’s cool because that’s like with all the questions I get asked, the messages I get, even from friends, you feel it – something changed in their view. That is the truth, but it was always clear it [could] happen, so it’s not important when it would happen. It can happen, not that it will happen. That is completely normal. If you want to be top of the table and a champion at the end of a season, you have to show in situations like that – and there have been worse situations in my life, in your life, in everybody’s lives probably than that – real passion, real desire, you have to fight. That’s what you have to do, you cannot come through with passing a little bit around and stuff like that, you have to go through.

I got a message this week – and that’s another sign that some people think I need help, but I don’t need help! Thank you very much! I am fine – that said in the last 10 games City dropped 12 points and we dropped seven. I didn’t know that because I don’t think like that. Is it interesting for me? No, it’s not really interesting, but obviously the view from outside is completely different. Then it was something about the games outside the top-six teams – City lost three, we drew twice, but it feels different. That’s the world outside and we live in that world as well, so I know that the people are confronted with these things, the players are confronted with things like that and it’s completely normal.

The only thing, always, the only tool we really have to sort our situation is football, is passion, is a proper fight, is being aggressive in the most legal way. Really be hard, put your foot in this and that situation – and that’s what we will do. It’s what we did last year in a pretty similar situation, just not with the same target. Chelsea were chasing us like crazy and we wanted to go to the Champions League. It was a similar situation, we had a very small squad in that moment and had to play Champions League semi-finals, final and all that stuff, and winning pretty much each Premier League game, which is a difficult job to do. We are used to that and now we have to show that we can do it still, that’s all.

On how Liverpool will use the gap between Bournemouth and Bayern Munich…

We will go away for a couple of days just so that we can really focus on training, so that we don’t have to drive between sessions, home and here again, things like that. Just a little change of scenery and do it again. It always worked out pretty well for me as a manager when I had the opportunity to do it; being 100 per cent focused, a couple of meetings. We would have done it if we were 10 points up, it’s exactly the same. It’s not that we do it because [of our form]; no, we do it because we have time and can do it because we play the Champions League game a week later. That’s all.

On when he expects Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain back after he was named in the Champions League squad…

If we go to the semi-final I think he is available. Maybe quarter-final, I am not 100 per cent sure, but he still needs time. Everything looks fine, but now I wait for the green light of the medical department, ‘come on, throw him in parts of the session’ and stuff like this. We are not at that point in the moment. When we are at that point we will not really push it, but it’ll of course help him a lot. Then we have to see how he reacts and all that stuff. We only put him in the Champions League squad because we think there is a chance for him to play. Obviously we have to go at least one more round, but that’s the plan anyway.

On his reaction to Liverpool’s record annual financial results, released on Friday morning…

I’m not a massive numbers guy, but Mike Gordon is in [Melwood] and he didn’t jump on me and say, ‘the numbers are outstanding, come on, let’s spend all the money’. We didn’t only earn a lot, we spent a little bit in the last couple of years. Everything is fine and it was always clear we had to change things for the better. That’s what we did with different things. We’ve built a really strong squad – unfortunately we have a lot not available at the moment, but we have a strong squad. It’s a squad built for the future, not only for this season, so I am fine and I hope we don’t need too much money in the next years, to be honest, because if you have the right players in, work with them and make the best of it.

On Bournemouth and the returning Dominic Solanke…

It’s always a bit strange and scary if you play against a former player. Dom was here four weeks ago and we saw him every day. He’s a wonderful guy and a big, big, big talent but we couldn’t give him enough match time, so for his development it’s unbelievably important that he gets these minutes. He had his first start last week. That’s good. The other thing is we are always warned, we know what other teams are doing. If a team does not have a good away record, for example, we don’t think it will be an easy game. Everybody works on changing bad runs. Bournemouth are a really, really interesting side in general, and together with Eddie Howe – I say it pretty much in each press conference but it’s the truth, he’s doing an outstanding job. If they have bad moments in a season or periods, they always come back. They do it outstandingly well. On one hand, they’re always a threat for counter-attacks, they play football. On the other hand, they use the time without playing European football for set-pieces, they are always creative in that. Preparation for Bournemouth is always difficult. But we still try to do it and in this moment I think we are ready for it. It will be an interesting game.

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