'I didn't see a smile in any faces' – Klopp insists Liverpool lead is 'nothing'

Despite having a nine-point lead at the top, the Reds will not lose focus according to their buoyant manager

Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool’s nine-point lead at the Premier League summit is “not important” despite the Merseysiders establishing themselves as title favourites heading into 2019.

The Reds ended a promising year with a 5-1 thrashing of Arsenal on Saturday, with Roberto Firmino netting a hat-trick.

With Tottenham losing to Wolves and Manchester City not facing Southampton until Sunday, Liverpool have a healthy lead at the top after a ninth straight top-flight success.

Cheers rung around Anfield prior to kick-off at the news of Spurs’ 3-1 defeat to Wolves at Wembley, but Klopp insists that the feel-good factor will not distract his team.

“I’m not the smartest person in the world, but I’m really not an idiot,” Klopp said. “Not always, at least.

“That’s really nothing. It’s absolutely not important how much points you are ahead in December, even in the end of December.

“What you all create and I get that, how can you not be positive about us? But you are the first if we drop three points and the next headline is: ‘Are they nervous now?’

“That’s [an] easy job. I would love to be in your situation, still earn the money I earn, but be in your situation. We cannot play that game and we don’t do it.”

Liverpool’s position of authority in the title race would be further cemented if they can beat Pep Guardiola’s City when the two sides meet on January 3.

Defender Virgil van Dijk has claimed that anything is possible for this current squad, who reached the Champions League final last May before this season’s title tilt.

Klopp has so far been impressed by the focus shown by his squad but has urged them to keep focus.

“Before the game we heard because it was on all the screens about the result of Tottenham,” he said. “Did you think the party started already?

“I didn’t see a smile in any faces in the dressing room. Just see it and then go on

“We came here in that situation with 54 points after 20 matchdays now completely being focused on the situation.

“Now it’s not about creating headlines, creating stories.

“It’s still about preparing football matches, play them as good as you can and try to get as many points as you can. That’s it.”

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