Klopp hails Man City as ‘best in the world’, while Liverpool fans cry foul over referee appointment
The Reds boss not only made the bold claim that the Citizens are the ‘best team in the world’, but also insisted that a victory over Pep Guardiola’s men – which would see Liverpool go two points clear at the top, with seven more games to play – would not guarantee them a free pass to the English Premier League (EPL) title.
Klopp made his comments following Liverpool's comfortable 3-1 win over Benfica in the first-leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie.
WATCH: Klopp insists Benfica tie is not over yet
The German tactician said: “If we win against Man City, which is already difficult enough, I think no-one would think: 'That's it, it is decided.’ That is because of the quality of the opponent.
“We play now against the best team in the world, but we will give it a try anyway. That is what we must do.”
Klopp’s complimentary words about Man City might be his way of softening the blow of a potential defeat this weekend – especially as, if Liverpool fans on social media are to be believed, the Etihad Stadium outfit will have a numerical advantage, with the match officials on their side.
It was confirmed earlier this week that Anthony Taylor had been chosen to officiate the game, with Paul Tierney aiding him as the video assistant referee.
WATCH: 10 players to play for Liverpool and Man City
Apart from the fact that both officials hail from Greater Manchester (although there has been nothing great, let alone ‘greater’ about the Old Trafford area in recent years), Tierney was also publicly lambasted by Klopp following Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in December.
In that game, Tierney had sent of Liverpool full-back Andy Robertson for a tackle on Emerson Royal, but failed to send off Harry Kane for a wild tackle on Robertson earlier on, because as England captain, Kane is evidently just about allowed to commit murder on the pitch, so long as he holds his hands up and shrugs coyly after that.
Unsurprisingly, Liverpool fans were left absolutely livid at the PGMOL’s decision to appoint Taylor and Tierney as officials for the game…
The appointment of the two match officials probably contributed to John Stones’ bullish claim that City - who beat Atletico Madrid 1-0 in the Champions League quarter-final first leg this morning (SGT) - have the advantage over Liverpool in the title race.
WATCH: Guardiola hails City's patience against Atletico
The England international said: “We've been in these situations before and the experience of that time we definitely learned from. We went 14 games unbeaten and we know every game is so important to us.
“We don't get sucked into all the outside noise and concentrate on what we do. That's all the time I've been here we've been very focused and tunnel vision on what's ahead of us.
“Everyone in that dressing room wants to come out on the winning side and we'll do everything in our power to do that.”