West Ham did not scare us, says defiant Klopp after dropped points
By Martyn Herman
LONDON, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp hit back at West Ham United skipper Mark Noble after the midfielder said his side had “scared” the Premier League leaders in a 1-1 draw on Monday.
Klopp’s side missed the chance to stretch their lead over Manchester City at the top to five points as Michail Antonio cancelled out Sadio Mane’s 22nd-minute opener at the London Stadium.
Liverpool were off the pace and West Ham, who had conceded 16 goals in their last four league games against Klopp’s side, would not have been flattered had they won.
“We scared them, I’m just gutted we didn’t come away with the three points,” Noble, who wasted 12th-placed West Ham’s best chance after the break, said.
Told of Noble’s comments in his post-match news conference, Klopp said: “I wish for all West Ham fans that Mark Noble and his team would scare more teams really, not only us tonight.
“I don’t know him very well, I don’t know why he speaks of us like that after a game. They didn’t scare us, they defended well. It was a normal away game and other away games have been worse than tonight. They have quality and I don’t know why they don’t have more results.”
Having drawn at home to Leicester City last week, when they also took the lead, Liverpool have dropped four points in two games which has allowed closest challengers Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur to close the gap.
Should City beat Everton on Wednesday they will knock Liverpool off the top for the first time since early December.
Klopp, who said both James Milner and Virgil van Dijk had played despite being ill this week, played down talk of Liverpool feeling the pressure as they try to win their first league title since 1989-90.
“We have to fight, it is not about pressure — it’s about enjoying the situation you are in,” Klopp told reporters.
“We have 62 points, have lost one game in the league season so far which is very positive, but I see your faces already you feel a bit sorry for us.
“You don’t have to. We are fine. We are fine and everything is good, but of course tonight was a tough game. If you have a day like that, then you get a point at West Ham, for me that’s absolutely fine.”
There was clearly no love lost between Klopp and West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini at the end with some strong words seemingly exchanged about Liverpool’s goal, after Milner appeared to be clearly offside in the build-up.
“Klopp is used to offside, he scored against me with Borussia Dortmund against Malaga, with a goal that was seven metres offside. He cannot complain about anything,” said Pellegrini. (