April 1, 2019 / 3:16 AM / 5 months ago

Soccer: Title race is a battle of wills says Liverpool's Klopp

LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) - Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said after their 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday that there are “500,000 different ways to win a football game” - and emerging victorious after a 90th minute winner, even an own goal, is a sweet way to do it.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Fulham v Liverpool - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - March 17, 2019 Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp before the match REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Files

The Anfield crowd went wild, the German coach was fist-pumping in front of the Kop, Liverpool players hugged each other in delight and beneath it all was a deep sense of relief as they claimed another three vital Premier League points.

Had the score remained 1-1 the impetus in the title race would have been handed to Manchester City but a bit of luck, as the ball rolled over the line off Toby Alderweireld’s shins, meant Liverpool ended the weekend on top and on a high.

For Klopp that kind of victory is psychologically even more of a boost then a comfortable win.

“One hundred per cent, of course. If you win today 5-0 - I didn’t see that as possible, but if - then it can lead you on the wrong path, that’s how it is. We are all human beings,” he said.

Liverpool have 79 points with Manchester City, who won at Fulham on Saturday, on 77 points but with a game in hand.

It was by no means a sparkling performance from Klopp’s team against Spurs and there were few moments of class or the kind of exhilaration they produced last season but, as the manager acknowledged, at this stage it is simply about the points.

“It feels like we always have to apologise a little bit that because of the football last season and stuff like that, because people always want the 100 percent package.

“We had to find a way to win football games much more often than in the past. So until now it kind of worked. It’s all good,” Klopp added.

“The boys work hard and if we would be first in the table after the last matchday it would be a championship of will, that’s how it is.”

While the stakes were high, there was no sign of the nerves becoming too much for Liverpool or their demanding supporters.

“We want it, of course, and it’s not only that. We get used to the situation, step-by-step,” said Klopp.

“In the stadium today when it was 1-1, in the three-and-a-half years that I am here that was the best performance of the Liverpool crowd after an equaliser.

“I am really, really happy that attitude again today, it’s brilliant,” added the German.

Reporting by Simon Evans; editing by Ken Ferris

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