Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed that even football giants such as Barcelona and Real Madrid would struggle to win the Premier League.
Klopp, who won the Bundesliga title in two successive years with Borussia Dortmund, has managed Liverpool to third in the Premier League with four games to go in his first season.
“Even for the great Spanish teams, it would be difficult to win the Premier League.” he said. “Of course, Madrid and Barca would be fighting for everything, but it would be very difficult.
“In the Premier League nothing is certain. The intensity is very high and many things can happen in matches. There’s not a single game where you can win 4-0 comfortably and rest your first XI.
“It doesn’t exist in the Premier League. It’s not possible in the Bundesliga, either, unless you are Bayern Munich.
“Chelsea are having a great season but there are many games where they have won 1-0 and had to defend until the end. I’ve experienced two leagues and I can say this one is really tough. Ask Pep, he’ll say the same.
Liverpool went through a difficult January, winning only one out of nine games – against League Two side Plymouth Argile in the FA Cup – but Klopp has found a way to turn things around as the Reds went on a seven-game undefeated run before they lost to Crystal Palace on Sunday.
“We are up there fighting for Champions League positions, but I can say: five more points and everything would look different.
“It’s always possible [to win the title]. Is it likely? I don’t know, but it’s possible and that’s enough for me. There are several teams that fight for the title each season and maybe, at this moment, some have more chances than us, but I’m not interested in that.
“That’s the key to this job: to find the right solutions for the problems that are presented to you. The goal is to win a competition but the fight is already exciting.”
In a somewhat uncharacteristic for the Premier League move, Klopp took the squad to La Manga and Tenerife in February and March, respectively, in bid to take the edge off the intensity of English football. But according to the German, whose way of coaching has often been criticised for being too draining on the players, there is no escape for the players from hard work if they want to be successful.
“I don’t try to be nice every minute of the day.” he said. “I tell [the players] things when it’s necessary. I like to be their friend, but not their best friend. A friend tells you things clearly at the right time.
“I always tell a footballer that 50 per cent of their success is my responsibility and 50 per cent is theirs. I always say that I don’t know if he’s a great player until I know if he’s a good or bad type.
“He can be a genius but if he only helps me three times a year and in the rest of the games, creates problems for me...I use the example of Cristiano and Messi. Cristiano fascinates everyone, but I’m sure he works harder than anyone else.”