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Klopp plays down title talk as Liverpool go top

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Klopp ‘really happy’ with ‘wonderful’ win

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp played down talk of a title challenge despite his side topping the Premier League for the first time since May 2014.

Two and a half years after the Reds finished two points behind champions Manchester City, a 6-1 win over Watford moved them one point clear of Chelsea.

City and Arsenal – third and fourth respectively – are one further back.

“We’ve started collecting points but we need to go on with this. Then we will see where we can end,” Klopp said.

Liverpool led the table going into the final weeks of the 2013-14 season but a home defeat by Chelsea – a game that featured a now infamous slip from Steven Gerrard – and a draw at Crystal Palace in their final three matches proved costly.

“I know in the past a lot of things happened here and the story two, three years ago when it was really close, but this is not the team two or three years ago,” said Klopp.

“This is not the team 25 years ago. We’re completely new. We stay cool. It’s the best position I can imagine but nothing else has happened.”

Sadio Mane scored twice in the victory over Watford, with Philippe Coutinho, Emre Can, Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum also on target.

Chelsea had gone top on Saturday with a 5-0 win over Everton, after City followed up their Champions League victory over Barcelona with a 1-1 draw at home to Middlesbrough.

Arsenal would have gone top with victory over Spurs in Sunday’s early game but were held to a 1-1 draw at home.

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“There’s no pressure after 11 match days, absolutely no pressure,” added Klopp.

“We saw Chelsea, quite impressive. Man City playing Barcelona, quite impressive. Man United – never write them off. Tottenham are a good side. There’s a lot of really good teams around.”

Klopp acknowledged his side looked “pretty good”.

But he added: “We didn’t speak one word about the possibility of being top of the table. For me it’s more important that we look like a team who is able to win games.

“When I came here I asked for time and patience and belief, and after 11 matches everyone’s asking for guarantees and they are not there.”

Watford manager Walter Mazzarri said Liverpool were “the best team we have faced so far”.

“They played tactically, athletically and unselfishly. With their performance, their aggression, they are a great team,” he added.

“They have everything and if they continue like this for sure they can win the title.”

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Liverpool 6-1 Watford: Reds can win title – Mazzarri

Analysis

Former Newcastle, Blackburn and England striker Alan Shearer on MOTD2

Roberto Firmino played a more orthodox centre-forward role today. Everything he did was excellent. He held the ball up well, he ran in behind, he linked up play and found himself in goalscoring positions as well.

Watford could not cope with him and he got the goal that his performance deserved. Liverpool were breathtaking in attack. The front three normally have freedom to go anywhere. It was a bit different today, but it was a nightmare for Watford.

Thirty goals in 11 games shows you how good they are going forward, but it will have hurt not keeping a clean sheet. They have only got one this season. There will be days when the forwards can’t score and they will need to depend on the defence.

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty

Liverpool have hit the Premier League summit and there can be no doubt whatsoever that Jurgen Klopp’s team are title contenders.

The fact there were five different goalscorers in Sunday’s win sums up the strength and potency of a Liverpool side that has hit a red-hot streak since that surprise 2-0 loss at Burnley in their second league game of the season.

Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana have the pace, movement and threat to pose a danger to any side, while captain Jordan Henderson has been a revelation this season.

Yes, questions remain about the quality of their defence and new goalkeeper Loris Karius, but this Liverpool team carries a level of menace that has echoes of the Luis Suarez-inspired side that almost won the title in 2013-14.

And one more factor in the title equation.

Liverpool have already played title rivals Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea away from home, claiming seven points, with victories at Emirates Stadium and Stamford Bridge. No wonder confidence is high at Anfield.

Former Blackburn striker Chris Sutton on BBC Radio 5 live

It was a stunning display from Liverpool. It could have ended up in double figures. They blew Watford away, and have blown away most teams this season.

The fact they have no European football and can recover between matches will help, too. They look like they’re going to go close.

Former Liverpool keeper Chris Kirkland

There is a different feeling now at Anfield. The expectation is back and the players are proving that this is justified through their performances, week in, week out.

Your reaction on #bbcfootball

David Ekeleme: Early days but I reckon the title race is between Liverpool and Chelsea. Not having European football is going to be an advantage

Jason Moore: Very worried Liverpool could win the Premier League this year. Conceding doesn’t matter when you outscore everyone

Joe Wedgwood: Liverpool absolutely sensational. Unstoppable. Ruthless fluidity and finishing. Klopp, I salute you!

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37891091