Klopp and Arteta attempt Man City title race mind games after Liverpool and Arsenal defeats

Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta made attempts to rewrite the Premier League title race narrative after conceding jeopardizing defeats to Crystal Palace and Aston Villa respectively on Sunday.

Having seen Manchester City beat Luton comfortably on Saturday to move top of the table, Liverpool and Arsenal had a chance to restore their places above City, before next weekend’s schedule that sees the Blues in FA Cup action.

However, Liverpool followed up last week’s draw at Manchester United with a disappointing defeat to Crystal Palace – and with Arsenal fans celebrating that result ahead of their clash with Aston Villa, they were also defeated to leave City two points clear at the top.

Having handed City the upper hand and the new tag of favourites, Klopp and Arteta both admitted their sides only have themselves to blame, although both suggested it had always been a matter of time before City returned to the top of the league.

“That’s the reality now. It’s been the same for a few months. We knew this moment could come,” Arteta said, having led City for months.

“And now it’s about reacting and keeping believing and doing what we can do.

“If one result is going to do that [let the season fizzle out] then we are not strong enough. That’s very simple. We had one of the best performances that we’ve had all season in the first half against a really good team.

“We congratulate the opponent and stand up. Now the moment is to stand up and be counted. When you win and win and win for four months it’s very simple to do it. The moment to do it is now.

“If you want to win championships, if you want to be there in the Champions League, when you have these moments you have to stand up. If not that means that you don’t have a quality that is very necessary. Now it’s a big test for us.”

Similarly, Klopp admitted that his side are not playing like title contenders at present, but will do what they can to keep the pressure on City.

“It’s easy, I understand 100 per cent, of course you have to ask these questions – what does it mean for the title race and stuff like this. I am not dumb, I know that. The answer is pretty easy: if we play like we did in the first half, why should we win the league?

“If you play like in the second half, we can win football games. So if we can win football games then we will see how many we can win. We have to be around when the other guys now struggle, if they struggle, so that’s how it is. For us, obviously we have to win football games anyway.”

Klopp also said he felt that Liverpool’s league draw at United, which followed a dramatic defeat at Old Trafford in the cup, has had a negative impact on their form. They were beaten 3-0 at home to Atalanta in their Europa League quarter-final first leg at Anfield in midweek.

“I am not 100 per cent sure in general how we dealt with the United games particularly helped. We lost the game in the cup and it was like a catastrophe because we were that good and lost it anyway and then we draw there and were really good and draw it anyway.

“We have now a string of away games. That would have been tough anyway, it will be tough but we know that. We have to deal with that, and that is the easy thing. Now there is nothing else.”



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