Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he is fine with their current situation and does not need any help coping after Manchester City overtook them at the top of the Premier League.
Even the German, who stresses he does not follow media reports about his club, could not escape the growing background noise over what dropping to second place after two months at the summit meant for the Reds.
In reality it means little as they could regain top spot with a win over Bournemouth, 24 hours before City host Chelsea, but Klopp still received a number of messages about the perceived power shift this week.
“The funny thing about that is I didn’t read it, I didn’t watch it and I still know it,” he said.
“You feel it, with the questions you get asked, the messages I get even from friends. Something obviously changed in their view.
“I got a message this week, another sign that people think I need help – I don’t need help, thank you very much, I’m fine – that in the last 10 games City dropped 12 points and we dropped seven. I didn’t know that.
“Is it interesting for me? Not really, but the view from outside is completely different.
“Then it was (a message saying) something that City lost three outside the top six teams, we drew twice. That’s the world outside, and we live in that world.”
Klopp has had to field weekly questions about the title race and how they handle the pressure but now it is about how they react.
He has always delivered the same message of indifference to what was being said outside the club and going behind City on goal difference has not affected that.
“It’s normal. It was kind of predictable,” he added.
“Obviously it is getting exciting now, eh? It was always clear that would happen.
“I don’t think anybody thought we would be top of the league, 12 points clear with three games to go at the end of April.
“If you want to be top of the table and a champion at the end of the season you have to show real passion, real desire, you have to fight.
“The only tool we really have to sort our situation is football, passion, a proper fight, being aggressive in the most legal way. Be hard, put your foot in.”
After a nervy 1-1 draw with Leicester last time out at Anfield Klopp urged fans to keep faith and back the team.
“It was always clear there would be games where you really have to keep your nerve, everybody: in the stand and on the pitch,” he said.
“The good thing is we all know the job we have to do. I don’t have the English saying, but it’s like shouting your soul on the pitch, that’s how we say it in Germany.
“We have 15-plus games left, that’s the decisive third of the season. We have created the basis for this finish, a very good basis.”
On Friday Liverpool announced pre-tax profits of £125million (£106m after tax), a world record for a football club, for the year ending May 2018.
Within that accounting period were £190m worth of signings, offset by £137m of sales, but after a further £170m was spent last summer Klopp cautioned against another major spree this year.
“I’m not a massive numbers guy, but Mike Gordon (president of club owners Fenway Sports Group) didn’t jump on me this morning and say ‘The numbers are fantastic, come on let’s go and spend all the money!’” said the manager.
“It was always clear we had to change things for the better. We built a really strong squad but it’s a squad built for the future and not only this season.
“That’s fine, I hope we don’t need too much money in the next years, because if you have the right players in, work with them.”
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