Diogo Jota is confident Liverpool can close the nine-point gap on Premier League leaders Manchester City heading into the new year.
The defeat to Leicester and draw Tottenham has left Jurgen Klopp’s men trailing in City’s wake. In the meantime the champions have been relentless. And their recent win over Brentford was then 10th straight win in the Premier League.
By the time Klopp’s side walk out at Stamford Bridge on Sunday to face second-placed Chelsea – a point in front of the Reds having played one match more – they could trail City by 12 points.
But Jota, who has scored seven times in his last nine appearances, is confident it is not an insurmountable challenge.
The Portuguese star will be expected to shoulder the goalscoring burden when Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane head to the African Nations Cup after the weekend.
“We know there is that gap but we also know we are able to close that gap and that’s the plan,” Jota told Liverpool’s website.
“But we need to avoid what happened against Leicester (the 1-0 defeat on Tuesday) because if we keep doing the things we did in that game, it’s going to be hard for us.
“We know it’s Chelsea away. We drew with them at home, we know it’s not going to be easy.
“And we both want to close that gap but we know at least one of us is going to be even further back.
“We need to be at our best. I know if we do that we are able to win the game there.
“We want to start the year well and the only way is to win the game at Stamford Bridge.”
Guardiola aware of Liverpool threat
City boss Pep Guardiola refused to accept the title was done and dusted after the 1-0 win over the Bees.
“There are many games to go,” he said via The Guardian. “We are eight points in front but there are 54 still to play for and many tough games still to play.
“I’m not going to believe anyone who says it’s already done. The teams we have with Chelsea and Liverpool are more than exceptional. One is a European champion and Liverpool have been our big rival in the last three or four years.
“We have the distance not because they dropped points but because we won ten in a row.
“We won the game, we are on a good run, but it’s the end of December.”