Jürgen Klopp said he feared Liverpool would be denied the chance to win the Premier League if the season was to be ended prematurely because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Asked if he feared the season would be declared null and void, the Liverpool manager replied: “Honestly yes. When we went to lockdown, I didn’t think: ‘Oh my God, this is our season, we’re so close,’ because that wasn’t important at that moment.”
Klopp admitted that there were times during lockdown when he felt the outstanding efforts of Liverpool would be in vain genuinely and physically:
“When people started to talk about null and void this season, I became worried because I was like ‘wow.’ And I felt that physically, really.
“That was really, really tough. We didn’t expect to get it as a present, we didn’t want to have a point-per-game basis, so when it was decided we could play again we were really happy.
“There were moments when some people brought it up [null and void] from time to time for different reasons but I felt quite relieved when it was off the table.
“If they had done points per game and we couldn’t have played then we would have been champions but now we are not and we have to play for it and that’s great, that’s how it should be in sports. And now we’re going for it.”
The pursuit of the title restarts on Sunday against Everton. Liverpool was 25 points away from Manchester City when soccer was suspended on March 13. In fact, it was only six points short of winning the first league championship of the club since 1990.
Klopp, who has a fully fit squad at Goodison Park available for the derby, insisted his players don’t believe the title ’s fate is a foregone conclusion:
“In our minds we don’t think we ’re already there. We know the situation in the table, we have seen City playing, all the other teams we see. We needed a lot of work to get to where we are this season but we also needed luck and that is what we need again.
“The coming weeks are going to be tougher than tough. I hope I can enjoy it because hard work is never an issue for us but we need to make sure we can play the best football we can play.
“But we’re going to be all right and we’re going to see what we ’re going to have to celebrate and how we’re going to celebrate, but these things are only important when it’s finally happening, not before.”