Klopp’s Take on Early Kick-Offs: A Love-Hate Relationship
Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool’s charismatic manager, has humorously declared his newfound affection for 12:30 pm kick-offs as his team gears up for a monumental clash against Manchester City, a side he dubs “the strongest team in the world.” Despite his previous criticisms of such early scheduling, especially post-international break, Klopp now jests about embracing these timings. His frustration is palpable as he reflects on the challenges of conveying his concerns, citing Thomas Tuchel’s similar experiences and the general dismissal of these issues in England.
Historic Rivalry Renewed: Liverpool’s Quest for Victory at the Etihad
The upcoming match at the Etihad Stadium is more than just a game; it’s a continuation of a rivalry that has seen Liverpool unable to secure a Premier League victory at City’s home ground since 2015. Yet, the Reds are only a whisker away from the top, trailing City by a mere point. Klopp acknowledges the formidable strength of their opponents but remains hopeful, emphasising the need to disrupt City’s comfort on the field to stand a chance.
Klopp’s Full Quotes:
“They have less games there than we do in England. Nobody wants to hear it. I tried a couple of times. Whatever I say, you always say ‘is it really much different (playing at 12:30pm)?’ I’m tired of that. I love playing at 12:30! That’s my new one.”
“Saturday is a big one, no doubt about that, against the strongest team in the world over the past few years,”
“They are extremely strong. There is nothing I can say that makes them weaker. If there was I would say it constantly.
“What I know is that the longer a run is going, the more likely it ends. If we can make it really uncomfortable for them then we have a chance. If they feel comfortable in their game, there is no team who can beat them.
“I can’t remember my feelings last season before the game at City but I probably was not massively optimistic. Now it feels we are a bit closer, but you still need to win the decisive battles on the pitch, you need to be compact and then on top of that you have to play football yourself.
“Our development goes in the right direction but I am far off sitting here and thinking ‘we’ve got City’ — that we only have to go there and find the entrance to get the three points.”
Klopp’s Optimism and Tactical Insight
Reflecting on last season’s encounter, Klopp admits to a less optimistic mindset but now feels a closer competitive edge. He stresses the importance of winning key battles on the pitch, maintaining compactness, and the necessity for Liverpool to play their own brand of football. Klopp’s focus is clear: continuous improvement and a strategic approach to tackling the behemoth that is Manchester City.
Liverpool’s Squad Update: Returning from Injury
In a significant boost, Klopp confirms the availability of Ryan Gravenberch, Curtis Jones, Joe Gomez, and Ibrahima Konate, all returning from injuries. Additionally, Conor Bradley is poised for a comeback with the under-21s following a stress fracture, and Kaide Gordon, another promising talent, has been integrating with the senior squad, signaling a positive turn in Liverpool’s injury saga.