Klopp adamant Premier League won't be a two-horse race

Manchester City and Liverpool dominated the Premier League last term, but Jurgen Klopp expects more than a two-way tussle in 2019-20.

Klopp adamant Premier League won't be a two-horse race

Jurgen Klopp is convinced the 2019-20 Premier League campaign will not be another two-horse race but still believes Manchester City is the team to beat.

Liverpool ran City close last term, finishing just a point behind the eventual champion, which accumulated a total of 98.

The Reds' impressive form was not for nothing, however, as they managed to win the Champions League, making up for their final defeat the season before.

The side's pre-season exploits have left a bit to be desired, as Klopp's men have won two of six matches and those victories came against lower-league opposition Tranmere Rovers and Bradford City.

Following defeats to Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla and a draw with Sporting CP, Liverpool was comprehensively beaten 3-0 by Napoli on Sunday, and Klopp recognises an improvement is necessary ahead of what he expects to be a tough season.

When asked if the Premier League will be following a similar pattern to 2018-19, the Liverpool manager said: "Of course not.

"It became a two-horse race last year, but unfortunately there are too many good clubs in this competition. I think even City see it like this.

READ: Liverpool 0-3 Napoli: Insigne too hot for Klopp's men to handle

"They are the big favourite, and all the others try to beat them - and we are one of these teams.

"At least we should give it a try, but we have to play better football, and we will play better football, I know."

"So many positive things about Harvey Elliott"

Sunday's match was not all bad for the Reds, however, as 16-year-old Harvey Elliott made his first appearance on the same day his signing from Fulham was confirmed.

The winger showed promising flashes at Murrayfield, and Klopp is excited by him.

"That's why he is here," Klopp said. "I could say so many positive things about the boy.

"We signed him, he came here, he decided [to play] for us and could have gone pretty much everywhere, but he wanted to be part of Liverpool.

"The stories with the boy start early, and already he is the youngest ever Premier League player and has broken quite a few records because of his talent.

"Now he is here, so let's work with him. He needs game time, we will see where he gets that, but he is obviously a fine, fine footballer and that's why we were really interested."

"Different animal"

Liverpool is set to get stars Mohamed Salah, Alisson and Roberto Firmino back on Monday, with Sadio Mane poised to return after the Community Shield clash against City on August 4.

Reds manager Klopp said it had been an unusual pre-season for Liverpool, but he feels they will be a different team at Wembley.

"Missing six players is strange. That you lose players during a pre-season, we are used to – that happened from time to time," he said.

"But that they don't start from the beginning and come a couple of days before or after we start with the season is not cool. Again, that's how it is and we prepared everybody as good as possible.

 

"We have to fight the start of the season 100 per cent with all we have. The good thing is, if the opponents want to analyse us now, they think 'easy job', but we will be a different animal next week."

Liverpool has conceded 10 goals in its past four friendlies and it wraps up preparations for the new campaign against Lyon on Wednesday.

But Klopp believes comfortable wins for the Premier League giant would have been worse.

"I think the worst thing that could have happened is if we had won all the games without the six players – 4-0 or 5-0 against Napoli and Sevilla, then everybody would be flying from last year and into the new season, then getting the problems in the season. That would have been the worst thing," he said.

"But between the worst thing and that now would have been a few levels I would have preferred. I knew before we started that it would be exceptionally difficult because of the situation.

"We have to adapt to a few things and we have to create a specific spirit. For this, we have a week's time.

"For the first time since the Champions League final we have 99 per cent of the squad tomorrow [Monday]. Only Sadio is missing then, and that's the moment where we really start talking and preparing a couple of things and then we have to go again."