Jürgen Klopp: I really thought Liverpool deserved three points against Manchester City

Jürgen Klopp believes Liverpool were fully deserving of an "intense" win over Premier League title rivals Manchester City at Anfield on Saturday but admitted his team weren't at their best.

The Reds fought hard for a huge three points against Pep Guardiola's side on Merseyside on New Years' Eve, Georginio Wijnaldum's superb header from an Adam Lallana cross the only thing separating the two sides.

But despite the game being limited in its chances, the manager believes his side fully earned the victory - despite highlighting the faults of their display.

Reds boss: City had no chances, which is the biggest compliment my team can take

Klopp insisted that it was "the best way" he "could have imagined" to finish 2016, admitting that it was "a difficult game" against a "really good side" in City.

He stated that it was "clear" that Liverpool "needed to be very compact" because failing to do so against City means "you don't have to play."

But the manager felt that his side "did well" and said he could not "remember a lot of chances for City", which he felt was "maybe the biggest compliment for my team."

However, Klopp felt improvements still could have been made, insisting: "The problem we had tonight was that we were not as good as we could have been in our own possession."

He felt that Liverpool "created a few moments", "scored a wonderful goal" and "had our counter-attacks" but "passed too late or too early or not in the right direction" in many of their attacking situations.

Klopp lamented that they "had these problems in the first-half and the in the second-half" even though they "defended really well", declaring that they were "not as confident as we could have been" on the ball and "lost a few balls in absolutely the wrong moment."

"We lost the ball too easily and because of that, the game was so intense for us, then we had to close the spaces with the highest intensity, the highest passion level and all that," continued the Reds boss.

He said that it was "really hard work" for his team, although accepting that they weren't "expecting something different" because "you have to work for three points" against City and "if you are good enough, you can get them" - adding: "We are good enough, and that's cool."

Klopp disappointed with Reds' passing

The victory meant that Klopp continued his excellent form against the Premier League's 'big six' - losing only one of 13 clashes with City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

Having taken 11 points from 15 against the other teams inside the current top six, beating Arsenal, City and Chelsea and drawing to Spurs and United, Klopp further praised his players.

He noted that in his "first few meetings" with his squad as a Liverpool manager that he told them they want to be "the most ugly-to-play side in the league" and said: "The boys made a big, big, big improvement and wonderful development."

Klopp believes his side are "really good in possession" now and so don't "have to defend like we defended last year nearly each week" and said that they "still can mix it up" which is "what we need.

He declared that their defending against Guardiola's side "was really good" although "in a few parts" they were "a little bit too deep" and had "a little bit of a problem."

He revealed that he and his backroom staff had a discussion with James Milner and Emre Can because they "wanted to press higher" but couldn't because their "orientation was not good" and they "didn't talk enough" which left Kevin De Bruyne free "in a half-space."

Klopp declared that there is "not a perfect solution" but said they must try to avoid "the easy pass" which he felt they did, which meant they "did much better" in the second-half.

He said that their defence sitting deep was because they "didn't feel comfortable", rather than it being "a problem in the game", insisting that the only problems Liverpool had was when they "gave the ball away" which meant it was "so intense." 

'Chelsea don't think about us, why should we think about them?' 

The win meant that Liverpool closed the gap to league leaders Chelsea, who have now won 13 straight top-flight games after their 4-2 home victory over Stoke City, to six points.

On whether he felt it was important to keep on the coattails of the pace-setters, Klopp insisted that Liverpool can only win their own games and "see where it leads us to" rather than worrying about Chelsea.

He added that he doesn't need "anything plus" in order to be "really happy" after the win over City, declaring: "We cannot have a look at Chelsea. They obviously are unbelievable strong and are in an outstanding run.

"They have 13 games in a row already, not bad. But can you imagine how annoying it is when you've won 13 games in a row and there's still one team only six points behind?"

Klopp said that Antonio Conte's side "don't think about this" and questioned why his Liverpool side should, insisting that it is "completely not important" what happens in the league currently bar his team winning games.

He said that it is "so difficult" and "unbelievable difficult" in the Premier League, noting that "the next game is already waiting" as they travel to Sunderland less than 48 hours after beating City.

He stated that Sunderland are "fighting for their lives" and "will fight for everything", but added: "Tonight we got the three points and I really thought we deserved it. That's the only thing that's really important."

Klopp said that it will be "difficult enough" for Liverpool to go and win against the Black Cats in the north east, when once more asked about catching Chelsea, stating that their last meeting was "really hard."

He acknowledged that he doesn't know what his side "have to do to get Chelsea", but said that likewise he doesn't know what to do to ensure Liverpool beat Sunderland.

"We are in the region of the table where we want to be," Klopp added. "How I've said before, if you're there in the last five, six or seven matchdays then probably you can think differently. But in this moment, you only have to collect points. That's all."