Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits he would have been disappointed had his side not produced a response to Manchester City’s 14-point advantage at the top of the table.
title challenge looked an unlikely possibility in January when Klopp’s side were so far adrift, even with two matches in hand.
A run of 10 successive Premier League victories has set up an enticing Sunday showdown at the Etihad Stadium when Liverpool could go two points ahead with a win.
But because of the high standards Klopp has set his team – standards they almost always deliver – the Reds boss considered their achievement in getting back in touch with their main rivals as nothing out of the ordinary for them.
“The 100 percent truth is that what we did was normal. If we hadn’t tried I would be disappointed,” he said.
“If you go into the season and the only thing you have is to win the league, then we are not that club, we can’t be that club because of City and the other teams (also wanting to win it).
“So, not winning the league will be disappointing but there are other things to go for qualification for Champions League, other cup competitions, the Champions League.
We knew it was 14 points but we didn’t careJurgen Klopp
“There is a lot to go for and for those you need momentum and you need rhythm. Whatever situation you are in, come early January it’s a situation, so work from there and don’t suffer because of it.
“If the gap is too big then close it – to one point. That was not about us, we just won the games but City didn’t win all their games.
“That is what I expected from us. I don’t expect us to win all the games, but to try constantly and that’s what we did.
“We knew it was 14 points but we didn’t care we just had to win as many points as possible until the end of the season that situation doesn’t change.”
Klopp’s record against City boss Pep Guardiola is the best of any of his contemporaries, winning nine and drawing four of their 22 encounters in the Premier League and previously in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich respectively.
Even so, the German admits he will not be sad to see the back of the Catalan when he finally retires.
“I will not miss it, I know that,” he said.
“All what I say about City I really mean. Pep is the best coach in the world, no problem with that, but I always wanted to be the coach of the team who can beat the best team in the world.
“Actually I achieved that as well somehow and now we have to make sure Sunday is the day.”