Football

Klopp: We need to be as lucky as United

To win the title, Klopp believes Reds must have element of luck like Fergie in the past

EPL
LIVERPOOL STOKE CITY

Under Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United developed the uncanny habit of leaving it late to get a result.

The phrase Fergie Time was coined to describe the generous or excessive amount of time after injury time had been added at the end of a match, allowing the Red Devils more time to score a late equaliser or winner.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp believes United's ability to eke out draws or wins late on under Ferguson was all down to luck.

His comments may not go down well with the United fans, but the German stressed that an element of good fortune always plays a crucial part in any title-winning team, as it has for United in the past.

Speaking in an interview with Sky Sports, Klopp said: "We have played a really good season until now but, becoming champions means you need to play a really good season plus having luck in the right situations.

"No injuries and a little bit of luck in this game and that game.

"Whenever you look back, it always looks like Manchester United or whoever did everything right in each game, but they won a lot of games in the last minute and you think it's quality, but it's coincidence most of the time.

"Very often, it's individual quality in a moment or it's coincidence. You need to have the luck. But you need to be prepared for these moments.

"You need to make the percentage of coincidence and luck as small as possible. All the rest needs to be planned and what we can plan, we do.

"But then you can still lose a game like we did at Bournemouth.

NOT LIKE THAT

"A lot of people, especially around Liverpool because they have waited so long for it, will say, 'That's the game where we lost the championship'. No, it's not like this."

The Reds sit second in the table before last night's fixtures, six points adrift of Chelsea.

The Blues look like they are the team to beat in the race for the title, but Klopp believes they must be the luckiest side among the Premier League title contenders after keeping Eden Hazard and Diego Costa free from injury this season.

Klopp admires Antonio Conte's team and feels they are worthy leaders as the halfway point approaches.

However, he cannot help but wonder if Liverpool would be better off if his stars Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge were always fit.

He told Sky Sports News: "There is no perfect system in world football but, when they go on like this, they are the deserved champions, nobody could have a doubt about this.

"I am pretty sure that until now Chelsea are maybe the team that have had the most luck with injuries.

"We lost Phil (Coutinho), Daniel (Sturridge) and Danny Ings in difficult moments when you could really use them.

"If it's Hazard and Costa at Chelsea, is it the same afterwards?"

Klopp is aiming to deliver a first English league title for Liverpool since 1990, even though he knows Chelsea are in the driver's seat.

"It's a long season and they all have to play us again and not only us, they have to play Arsenal again and all of the others," Klopp added.

"Of course, they are the team to beat because they are very experienced, maybe the most experienced team in the top flight at the moment."

Klopp is preparing for the most hectic run of games of the campaign so far, with three games in the space of six days.

The Reds take on Stoke tomorrow morning (Singapore time), before enjoying a four-day break until the mammoth clash with Manchester City on New Year's Eve.

Klopp's side will then meet Sunderland less than 48 hours after that.

SCHEDULE

Liverpool's fixture list is the second worst behind Southampton in the Premier League in terms of breaks between games, with only four days off between the three fixtures.

Klopp mused: "How do you prepare a team for this?

"Do you say, 'Only 50 per cent against City because we have Sunderland on Monday'?"

Despite the intense sequence, Klopp believes the gruelling Christmas fixture list will not derail his side's title challenge.

"We accepted it a long time ago, it is nothing. It is all the same for all the teams, nearly all the teams. We all have to go through it," he said.

"In the end, the teams who use all the different situations in the best way will be top of the table." - WIRE SERVICES

Fixture list: Who get the most rest?

Of all top-flight clubs, Southampton are the hardest hit.

Claude Puel's men have three games over six days - in only 117 hours.

How do you prepare a team for this? Do you say, 'Only 50 per cent against City because we have Sunderland on Monday'? - Reds boss Juergen Klopp, on his team having less than 48 hours between two matches

By contrast, league leaders Chelsea have 223 hours spanning their three games, giving them just over 90 per cent more recovery time than Southampton, reported the BBC.

Of the title contenders, Arsenal have the next greatest amount of time between their games, with Liverpool by far the worst hit, playing their fixtures over a period more than three days shorter than that of 
Chelsea. - WIRE SERVICES

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