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Palace clash reminds Klopp how far Liverpool have come in five years

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

REUTERS

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

For those bookmarking the key stages of Jurgen Klopp's Anfield revolution, Crystal Palace make for pertinent opposition.

The Londoners are the last Premier League visitors to win at Anfield, a staggering 38 months and 55 games ago. Go further back and former manager Brendan Rodgers will always wince when reminded of the infamous 'Crystanbul' comeback of 2014, a chaotic 3-3 draw ending his title quest.

But if a Liverpool win tonight proves decisive in 2020 - Klopp will still require a favour from Chelsea against Manchester City tomorrow for that to happen - the real symmetry will be found in recalling the clubs' meeting in November 2015.

Palace's 2-1 win was Klopp's first defeat in English football, prompting him into one of his most memorable and effective quips, directed at his own fans. "I felt pretty alone," Klopp said as dispirited spectators flocked to the Anfield exits.

Rather than recall harrowing memories, Klopp says Palace's arrival in the enforced emptiness in the same stadium tonight serves as a reminder of the vast progress in the five years since.

Alone

"I've never felt alone again since then, honestly, and I will not feel alone when something special will happen, whenever it will happen," said Klopp (below), who says his pointed words at the Kop in 2015 had purpose and impact.

"On that day I felt literally alone because so many people left the stadium and I thought it was important to make a statement that things had to change. We had to change and supporters could change as well, if they wanted to help.

"The situation was our starting point and losing to Crystal Palace that night maybe helped more because I could make this kind of statement after the game. It was not planned, it was just what I felt in the moment, and it helped us to come closer together because people discussed the influence of supporters in the stadium that night. They had to think about it and thought, 'OK, we are not just there for the start and for 80 minutes of the game, the team needs us for 95 or 100 minutes or however long it will go'. That was important. A lot of things have changed."

Wherever and whenever Liverpool play between now and the finishing line, the sense of what might have been in front of a vibrant crowd yearning for the title is unavoidable.

Klopp says his task remains focusing on the next three points, not the last five that will confirm the championship.

"Honestly, if it will happen I don't care too much where it will be," he said. "To be in a stadium, in a game with a decisive goal is not too bad and I had that twice (with Dortmund). Winning the Champions League final and being in the stadium when that happens is pretty good as well.

"But, again, life is not perfect, so you have to deal with the circumstances and that is what we do. I don't want to talk about what we do if we win it, I just don't care. I will feel what I feel and speak enough about it then if it happens.

"Until then I just don't think about it. There is nothing to plan around it but people don't bother me with that if there is, because I am not interested. I want to win football games and, if something happens, we will react on that."

Klopp will welcome back Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson after they missed Sunday's goalless Merseyside derby, but James Milner and Joel Matip are out with hamstring and foot injuries respectively. "We've to figure out exactly how long it will take for them to be back," Klopp said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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