Klopp dismissive of rumours that coronavirus could halt title bid

SHOWS: LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND, UK (MARCH 2, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REPORTER ASKING LIVERPOOL MANAGER JUERGEN KLOPP:

"Some Liverpool fans are said to be a bit paranoid about the fact that there's coronavirus around as well, some are getting teased by the fans from potentially the league being suspended or anything. Do you have a message for any paranoid Liverpool fans?"

KLOPP: "I don't think that our fans are paranoid, I think people who are not interested in us are bringing up these stories. I can't believe that Liverpool fans are thinking about it, and I actually speak to Liverpool fans. If anybody wants to ask me about that, and how much sense it would make to - what is that? - delete all of the results of this season and tell me who will play next year Champions League and stuff like this, it would be really interesting.

"It's a nice story, some newspaper always to write something, but when I saw it first time, I really thought 'wow', reading something somebody thinks something like that - no, Liverpool fans are not silly enough to believe in these things."

2. WHITE FLASH

3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LIVERPOOL MANAGER JUERGEN KLOPP TALKING ABOUT SATURDAY'S DEFEAT TO LIVERPOOL END THE CLUB'S 44-MATCH UNBEATEN RUN, SAYING:

"Could we have done better? Of course, but it's not about now picking this game out, the Watford game, it's over, that was the sign that something went wrong. It's not like this, if we have the chance to react and that's how it is. The longer you are in a situation like this, the biggest challenge these boys face is everybody's fighting for everything, and we fight which question we get asked about, is it over yet, when will you do it and stuff like this, so it's not that we are really bothered about it, it's just the situation, that's over now. That's good, so we can concentrate again completely on football and we will do that. It didn't destruct us over there, it's just the situation, nobody can tell us how to deal in the best way with runs like this, because not a lot of teams had it, that's all what I can say.

"I was not happy with the performance, but it was always clear that there will be a moment where it can happen, and now it happened, so that's how it is, nothing else."

4. WHITE FLASH

5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LIVERPOOL MANAGER JUERGEN KLOPP TALKING ABOUT PICKING HIS TEAM TO PLAY CHELSEA IN THE FA CUP, SAYING:

"It's not the defeat, it's nothing to do with the line-up tomorrow night, but the line-up will be shown tomorrow night. Not now, not here, we have no clue what Chelsea's doing, why should Chelsea know what we are doing, and that's it, pretty much.

"We've always played the team who gave us the best opportunity to go to the next round that was for different reasons. It's the physical demands of the season, stuff like this, when are the games, how are the boys in that moment, physical levels, stuff like this, injuries, come back from injuries, stuff like this, it was always like this, yes, with the exception of the last replay against Shrewsbury as we all know, but apart from that, it was always the same, it will be like this as well."


STORY: Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp denied that some of his team's fans are "paranoid" over allegations that the team's charge to the Premier League title could be halted by the coronavirus.

Despite a 3-0 defeat at Watford on Saturday (February 29) which ended Liverpool's 44-match unbeaten run in the league, the Reds are still 22 points clear of second-placed Manchester City and only need four wins from their remaining ten games to ensure they win their first top level title since 1990.

With the coronavirus now causing the cancellation of some sports events including Serie A matches in Italy last weekend, there has been some speculation that this could happen in Britain, possibly disrupting the Premier League season.

"Some newspaper always to write something, but when I saw it first time, I really thought 'wow', reading something somebody thinks something like that - no, Liverpool fans are not silly enough to believe in these things," said Klopp on Monday (March 2).

Saturday's surprise loss ended Liverpool's chances of overtaking Arsenal's record of 49 successive Premier League games unbeaten, but Klopp said that the squad were not bothered about the record, although he admitted that he was not happy with the team's performance.

Liverpool now travel to Chelsea on Tuesday (March 3) in the fifth round of the FA Cup, having squeezed through 1-0 in a replay against third-tier Shrewsbury Town in the previous round when Klopp fielded their Under-23 players.

Apart from that particular match, Klopp said "we've always played the team who gave us the best opportunity to go to the next round", indicating he will be selecting a stronger team against Chelsea.

(Production: Mike Brock)