Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has played down the importance of the forthcoming clash with Manchester City at Anfield by insisting that although it's a fixture he'd like to be successful in, it's too early to call it a 'must-win' game.
Over the last two seasons, each group of players has shown some of the best performances ever seen in the Premier League, as evidenced by last season's title race that City won with 98 points to the Reds' 97.
Klopp's Liverpool lost just one league game all season - to City at the Etihad - and their points haul was the third best ever registered in the league, the standard being set by Guardiola's famous century a year earlier.
As the two sides prepare to go face-to-face on Merseyside this Sunday, there is understandably much anticipation with a win either way already being touted as potentially decisive in the title race. With Liverpool leading the way by as many as six points as it stands, however, Klopp is playing it cool.
"We are at matchday 12 so obviously there are some games to come," he told Sky Sports. "We know about the City situation last year where we only lost one game and that was decisive in the end.
"That's maybe how people see it, but you have to play all the games. There is so much to come, and the most intense period of the year in November, December and January is still coming so we have to be ready for all these games.
"At the moment we are focused on preparing for this game, but we don't think too much about what influence it might have on the rest of the season.
When asked if it was a 'must-win' game, Klopp added: "Maybe there are people who are smarter than I am and see it like this, but I don't. For me, it's 100 per cent a 'want to win game' - with all I have. I've never understood 'must-win' games because that doesn't change the chances.
"For us, as a team to prepare a game like this, you have to do the right thing again and again: being brave, playing football, defending for your lives.
"All the stuff around the game doesn't really affect us. We want to win, and we'll try everything to make that happen - which is difficult enough. The season will not stop after this, but it's a big one, we know that."
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