"Incredibly strong" Chelsea not far behind Liverpool and Man City, says Klopp
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Jurgen Klopp has labelled Chelsea "incredibly strong" while insisting Thomas Tuchel's side are "not that far" behind the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City.
Despite European Super Cup and Club World Cup triumphs, the Blues failed to land any domestic silverware last season as Liverpool and City dominated. Klopp's Reds denied Chelsea at the final hurdle in both the League Cup and FA Cup, edging Tuchel's side out on penalties both times following two goalless draws at Wembley.
In terms of the Premier League, Pep Guardiola's City clinched a fourth title in five years on a dramatic final day to pip Liverpool to the crown by a point, while Chelsea were a whopping 14 further adrift of the Reds. Despite such a gulf, the west London club drew all four of their encounters with Klopp's side last season, and the German boss believes they will continue to pose a threat in the upcoming campaign.
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When probed over whether he feels Liverpool and City will continue to battle it out over English's football domestic honours going forward, Klopp was quick to remind people of Chelsea's quality, asserting that the Blues are closer to challenging the Premier League's top two than a lot of people think. "We are not that far ahead," Klopp admitted to ESPN.
"That's always a misunderstanding of the points tally of last season. We played Chelsea – I don't know how many points more we had, I really don't – but we played them four times and we didn't win one game against them.
"It's not because we are bad that day – no, we were really good in those games – but over 90 minutes each time, before the penalties [in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals], we never won, so Chelsea are incredibly strong.
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In addition to heaping praise on Tuchel's side, Klopp also acknowledged the progress Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United all appear to have made in the off-season. He added: "You have to look at Tottenham, and what they are doing at the moment. They didn't get worse this year. Arsenal are still there, Man United with a new start, all these kind of things."
Despite Liverpool racking up a mammoth 92 points in the Premier League and fulfilling the maximum number of fixtures possible, having qualified for both domestic cup finals and the Champions League showpiece, Klopp declared he will not dwell on the achievements of last season, insisting the upcoming campaign provides a fresh challenge.
"I'm not interested in the points we had last year, I'm only interested in what we can get this season," he added. "But I am positive, really optimistic, but I'm not sure, so we will have to fight and see what the outcome is."
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