Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool 'Are Still Rocky Balboa, Not Ivan Drago' in Title Race

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2018

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JULY 25: Jurgen Klopp manager / head coach of Liverpool during the International Champions Cup 2018 match between Manchester City and Liverpool at MetLife Stadium on July 25, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says his side are still the underdogs in the Premier League title race compared to Manchester City and likened the Reds to Rocky Balboa. 

There is plenty of excitement surrounding Liverpool ahead of the new season after they spent more money than any other Premier League side in the transfer window, but Klopp wants supporters to keep their feet on the ground.

Per the Mirror's David Maddock, he said:

"I know a lot of people think that because we were that active in the transfer window but that is part of the business, it doesn't decide anything.

"It has been clear for ages we want to be champion of England, but how can we say that? What about [Manchester] United, what about the other clubs.

"The champions Manchester City did not lose any player and brought in [Riyad] Mahrez, so it doesn't make them weaker.

"They are top quality. We are still Rocky Balboa, not Ivan Drago. We are the ones who have to do more, fight more, and that must be our attitude. We have to be like Rocky."

The German hopes to see his side in "championship mood" this season, though, and called for his side to be more consistent, clinical and aggressive.

At least one Premier League manager was unimpressed with Klopp's analogy: current titleholder and Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola. Per Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail

 "Thank you, Jurgen. For nine years I've lived with that situation, it's no problem. For nine years, except the first year when I arrived [as a coach] and people in Barcelona didn't like I was a manager. Since then, we won the treble every season and were the favourites."

Liverpool only finished fourth last year, 25 points behind City, but beat City in three of their four meetings and reached the UEFA Champions League final.

The Reds have attempted to consolidate after that excellent season with plenty of spending in the transfer market:

Nick Harris @sportingintel

PL window spends with ALL deals finalised. Ranked by gross spend. Three eye-catchers: 1: Fulham spending > £100m, getting some v good players. They're staying up. 2: Brighton adding virtually a whole new match-day squad (16 players!). 3: MUFC: bizarrely poor. https://t.co/aWkD3EJBAq

Liverpool writer Leanne Prescott believes their summer business is cause for optimism:

Leanne Prescott @_lfcleanne

Feeling very positive heading into the new season. Klopp has targeted the key weaknesses within the side, bringing in players that not only add quality but fit seamlessly into the fluent, transitional style of play he uses.

The pressure will be on City to become the first team to defend the Premier League title since United won three in a row between 2007 and 2009.

However, given the Reds' progress under Klopp and the amount spent on new talent, there's pressure mounting on Liverpool to start winning trophies, too.

Liverpool haven't won any silverware since the League Cup in 2012, and that is their only honour since 2006.

City are still favourites ahead of them in the Premier League, but the Reds are set for a big year and need to start delivering.