Krylia Sovetov
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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Liverpool aren't '500 miles' behind quality of leaders Manchester City

Jurgen Klopp has said that Liverpool are not "500 miles" behind rampant Premier League leaders Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola's side handed Liverpool a 5-0 defeat at the beginning of September in a match that saw the Reds finish with 10 men after Sadio Mane was sent off for a high-flying challenge against Man City keeper Ederson.

But Klopp was adamant that his team aren't that far off from the quality of City, despite sitting nine points behind them just eight matches into the campaign.

"I don't compare City with us but I think everyone can see we are not 500 miles away," Klopp told multiple UK outlets ahead of his team's weekend match against Tottenham. "Dealing with a 5-0 defeat is not the easiest thing.

Tottenham HotspurTottenham Hotspur
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"We did well, we didn't lose confidence, but we were not that fluent and it was not like we could close our eyes and finish.

"They did exactly the opposite. I saw City's goals against Stoke. You see the shot from Fernandinho and you think: 'If it works, it works even like this!' They are a fantastic team."

And Klopp was also upbeat about his chances of getting back into the title race with 30 matches yet to play when asked if the rest of the season was just about ensuring a Champions League place.

"I don't say already we should only fight for top four," Klopp said. "Performance-wise, we are a team that should be there, but now we have to get the results.

"That could be good news if you are happy with it, but if the only thing you can be happy about is being first in the table then it is again like it was a few years ago.

"We can make steps, from a very good season last year, we can make more steps this year. Position-wise, I think it should be possible, but difficult with the few points we have given away.

"It is a long season, if we can bring in consistency and be more ruthless and things like this, more clinical in situations because of confidence and all that stuff, then we can win a lot of games.

"In the end we will see where it leads us, but again it could be a good basis to build on for the next year. That's how it is. It will not stop if we stay cool."

Coming off his team's historic 7-0 Champions League thrashing of Maribor, Klopp was unapologetic about where his team were in relation to City, pointing out that Guardiola had an amazing team even before spending extravagantly on his squad in the summer.

Klopp said: "It starts so early again with us having to apologise for the season so far because one team is really flying. Yes, United is also in a really good position but we only can look at our own team.

"City were good in the transfer market, they probably did exactly what they had to do. They were already strong last year, the offensive line didn't change so they stayed together.

"[Sergio] Aguero is out then he's in and scores all the goals -- from not being useful to world class in five minutes if you want. There was no doubt about it.

"The way of football they play I would say is not something we are too far away from but to be as clinical as they have been so far? We weren't. That's the thing."

The German boss was also pressed on the futures of Emre Can and Philippe Coutinho, after the former was linked with a summer move to Juventus and the latter nearly swapped a Reds jersey for a Barca one during the last window.

Klopp insisted it's not something the team focuses on day-in and day-out as they are fully committed to the task at hand with the club.

"What I can say, in general as a club, and how I understand it, we have to still create a situation where players want to be part of it with all they have," Klopp said. "In this moment, we have this. Nobody thinks about January, nobody thinks about June or July.

Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho has re-integrated himself into the Liverpool squad, but questions remain about his future.

"Everyone wants to now be part of this but there will come transfer windows and we will see what happens.

"I always said if players come [to us] early enough then always we will find a solution, that's not a problem.

"We have to do as a club everything until the players give me signs that they are somewhere else or whatever.

"I don't think about it. If I start now asking Emre every day: 'How is it going then?' So far there is not a shadow of a doubt that he's 100 percent here.

"I've no clue [on Coutinho]. We will see. We don't talk about things like this.

"Can you imagine what it would be like if it was like this and I said: 'Yes, we have an agreement?'

"In this moment the 100 percent truth is that nobody thinks about this. We don't talk about it, why should we?

"In both cases it would not make sense -- no there is no agreement, yes there is an agreement. It is not important in the moment.

"We have other moments when we have to talk about these things but not in October."

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