Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has referred to as Sunday’s journey to play Manchester Metropolis on the Etihad, dwell on Sky Sports activities, the “most troublesome recreation on the earth of soccer”.
The Premier League champions face the hardest check of their title defence to this point once they come up in opposition to Pep Guardiola’s aspect, who’re unbeaten in eight matches in all competitions.
League leaders Liverpool have 5 extra factors than Metropolis, having performed a recreation extra, and will lay down a probably essential early marker for this season’s title race.
Solely one of many final 10 league conferences between Metropolis and Liverpool has been gained by the visiting aspect, and Klopp is nicely conscious of the problem dealing with his gamers.
“It is a very troublesome recreation, hopefully for each groups,” Klopp stated. “So many issues are totally different this yr, nothing might be in contrast with final yr or the yr earlier than.
“I get pleasure from these type of video games, I benefit from the preparation, however it would not make it simpler, it is only a actually powerful activity.”
On the problem of being away from residence, Klopp stated: “We love taking part in at Anfield. It is our residence and that makes a distinction, however I do not assume we have made a distinction in our method to residence or away video games.
“It is not that we need to be dominating at residence and like a deep-sitting group away. Saying that, in opposition to Man Metropolis precisely that may occur due to the standard they’ve.
“We misplaced there final yr, however it’s not a recreation I like to contemplate with all of the others as a result of three days earlier than we grew to become English champions and it was a fairly particular time for us.
“It is not vital if we play residence or away, it is vital that we compete with our personal plan, that we’re courageous, play soccer and defend with all we’ve. Then we can have an opportunity.
“It is rather troublesome. That is probably the most troublesome recreation on the earth of soccer.”
Klopp solely excited about one horse in title race
The Reds’ boss says he has no time for discuss of a two-horse title race between his aspect and Metropolis.
He praised the qualities of the likes of Chelsea, Everton and Tottenham and in addition warned in opposition to writing off Manchester United simply but.
“Every season begins at nil, all of us have the identical probability,” Klopp stated. “This ‘two-horse race’ factor was by no means a phrase I used and even assume.
“I am solely excited about one horse and that is us.
“Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Leicester are actually good. Everton – sadly – actually good.
“Possibly I forgot any person. Manchester United, folks write off at all times fairly early and in the long run they are going to be there as nicely.
“All of us battle for the Champions League spots and when you’re shut sufficient to that, you then might be champion on the finish of the season.
“I do not know who will likely be high horse on the finish of this season.”
Klopp: ‘I am unable to assist those that do not see Firmino high quality’
Klopp additionally launched a passionate defence of striker Roberto Firmino, following criticism over his lack of targets.
The Brazilian has netted simply as soon as this season and was changed within the beginning line-up for the Champions League conflict at Atalanta by new signing Diogo Jota, who scored his first hat-trick for the Reds in a 5-0 rout in Bergamo.
“I haven’t got to say one phrase about Bobby Firmino and the way vital he was for us, I do not waste time with that,” Klopp stated.
“He was the difference-maker in so many video games with out scoring. I’d really feel actually embarrassed if I’ve to say the qualities of Bobby Firmino.
“I am unable to assist these folks if they do not see it.”
Thiago lacking for Liverpool, Matip accessible
Thiago Alcantara is out of the conflict with Manchester Metropolis however centre-back Joel Matip is again in a lift for Jurgen Klopp.
Amid a torrid month of health points which have additionally seen Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho out of motion, Alcantara missed 5 video games since selecting up a knee damage within the Merseyside derby in October.
Klopp has confirmed he has prevented surgical procedure however is not going to play within the enormous conflict in opposition to title-rivals Metropolis, whereas Spain additionally confirmed he’s not of their squad for the internationals instantly afterward.
‘No, (he is) not prepared. Klopp stated. “There was no surgical procedure wanted however nonetheless an damage, so that you look day-to-day.
“The longer he’s out, the longer he has to coach earlier than we take into account him once more. Thiago is not going to be accessible for us on Sunday and that’s it.”
On his centre-halves, nevertheless, the German stated: “‘Sure, Joel [Matip] is again and has had seven, eight, 9 days in coaching and, after the sport, there will likely be 14 days coaching for him. We’ll see what we will do.”
Fabinho remains to be anticipated to be out till after the worldwide break with a hamstring drawback, having been changed within the upcoming Brazil squad by Everton’s Allan, whereas Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain additionally stays a long-term absentee.
Jamie Carragher on the Pitch to Submit Preview podcast:
“I nonetheless cannot envisage anybody moreover Liverpool or Man Metropolis profitable the league. I simply can’t see that. I do know Tottenham have began very well and I hope they’ve an incredible season and there are extra challengers, however I simply can’t see anyone else lifting that league title moreover the large two of the previous couple of years.
“I might been very robust placing Liverpool as favourites for the title, however for the damage to Virgil van Dijk – not simply certainly one of Liverpool’s high gamers however one of many high gamers within the Premier League. And if one thing comparable would have occurred to, say, Kevin De Bruyne for Man Metropolis, who’s their high man, I believe you’d say the identical for Metropolis. I believe it makes for an much more attention-grabbing race, little question about that.”