- ‘Give us an asterisk because it’s the most difficult season ever’
- Liverpool have fully fit squad to face Everton at Goodison Park
Jürgen Klopp has said this season’s Premier League champions should have an asterisk attached to their name because the title will go down in history as the most difficult to win.
The Liverpool manager admits he Googled the word “asterisk” when people – aka non-Liverpool fans – questioned the credibility of a title won after a three-month lockdown and behind closed doors. Liverpool are six points from securing their first league championship since 1990 and restart at Everton on Sunday.
Klopp agrees the 2019-20 champions will be remembered differently. But, rather than a question of legitimacy, he believes winning the league during the coronavirus pandemic, with all the problems caused for society and football, will be a unique achievement.
“Usually I do not pay too much attention to what everyone is saying around us,” Klopp said. “Now I have had a lot of time to read and I heard a lot and saw a lot. When that came up I had to google the word ‘asterisk’. I only knew the word from the comic [Asterix] before. This is the most difficult year and season to become champions. It is an interrupted season like has never happened before. Whoever will be champions at the end it will be historical because it is a year that we will never forget because hopefully it is the only year we ever have like this as human beings and a society because I hope we find solutions for this kind of thing in the future.
“It is historic now more than ever. Give us an asterisk. Yes, do it. Because it is the most difficult season ever and the only difference is there is quite a points gap between us and other teams, but if you saw City playing the other night, saw the team they played and saw the bench they had where they changed five times and there was still no Leroy Sané on the pitch, you think: ‘Wow, that is really impressive.’ That is our opponent.
“That is why when they were having discussions about [ending] the season I felt quite tense during the lockdown. Now it is over and we are here. We worked so hard for this and we do not want to get over the line ‘somehow’. We want to play football. Nobody has to tell us we are nearly there. I am not interested in nearly, or in close. I am interested in playing the best football we can play.”
Klopp feared the season would be declared null and void. “I didn’t think when we went to lockdown: ‘Oh my God, that is our season, we are so close,’ because it was not important in that moment. I became worried in the moment when people started talking about null and void this season because I was like ‘wow’. And I really felt it physically.
“That would have been really, really hard. We don’t expect to get it as a present, we didn’t want to have a points-per-game basis, so we were really happy when it was decided we could play again.
Klopp has a fully fit squad – with the exception of Xherdan Shaqiri – when he can become the first Liverpool manager to avoid defeat in their first 11 derbies.
He added: “What people outside make of it, I couldn’t care less. But if it will happen and we do become champions then we can tell people it was really difficult and rightly so, and really special. We cannot do a lot of things that we usually can do but in this specific case at least we can say this is really special. That’s why we enjoy the little asterisk there.”