Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp denies their FA Cup exit has given them an advantage over Premier League title rivals Manchester City and Tottenham.
Defeat to Wolves on Monday left the league leaders with a run of five matches – against Brighton, Crystal Palace, Leicester, West Ham and Bournemouth – before the Champions League last-16 encounter with Bayern Munich in February. Basically, Liverpool do not have a lot of games.
By comparison, City and Spurs are both still in four competitions and have Carabao Cup semi-final second legs and FA Cup fourth-round ties to play within that time.
But Klopp said: “There’s no advantage, we will see it.
“When does the Champions League start? In February? It’s not even a month and then we talk again completely differently. It’s just the situation.
“Other teams played more games, they are still in competitions, but they can deal with it, you can see it.
“We could deal with it as well with the right number of players, that’s how it is, but that’s all. There’s no advantage, we have to use the time.
“I would love to still be in these competitions but we are not in. I know Pep (Guardiola) said already that he prefers to be in four competitions.
“Yeah, I would prefer the same. But we are not in, so we have to make the best of the time we have now and get as many points as possible.
“You have to use the time and really be week in, week out the best shape we can be, understand the job right, understand the challenge right, and go for it. That’s our job, nothing else.”
Klopp made nine changes at Molineux, giving debuts to youth-team players Curtis Jones and Rafael Camacho, while 16-year-old substitute Ki-Jana Hoever was pressed into action after Dejan Lovren sustained an early hamstring problem.
That leaves Virgil Van Dijk as the only fit centre-back, although Joel Matip has returned to training this week and could be in contention to play at Brighton.
“Joel trained yesterday, first time with the team, but we have to decide day-by-day how he is doing,” said Klopp.
“Hendo (Jordan Henderson) will train today, first time, and we will see what that means exactly. Adam (Lallana) out. Dejan out – it’s not that serious and I would expect him back maybe after Crystal Palace. Joe (Gomez) of course out.
“It’s quite special. I think if you want to put a bet on having three centre-halves injured in the same moment, you could win a lot of money.
“It usually doesn’t happen but here it happened and was a bit of bad luck. That makes it quite a bit tricky.”
Defeat to City in their last Premier League outing has cut Liverpool’s lead to four points, but in any other year their tally of 54 points from 21 matches would have given them a significantly better advantage over the chasing pack.
It is not something which concerns Klopp, who ruled out a January loan move for youngster Camacho after his debut at Wolves.
“Statistics from the past have no relevance in the present because it is always different. We don’t think about the season before or 20 years ago,” said the Reds boss.
“Our season so far is really good and now we have to carry on. It is not important what happened so far.
“Two weeks ago I think everyone was so excited about the distance between (the teams at the top) and all of us who are in the job (think) that is just one information in 2,000.
“We have now two games which we lost, which is not nice, but it is not a real problem because these games have gone as well.
“We only talk here (in the press conference) about the points and the distance, we never do that during the week because it is just not relevant.”
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