The Reds boss says his players must be ready for an intense test at the Etihad on Sunday against Pep Guardiola’s side.
If Liverpool is to get a good outcome at Manchester City on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp says it will require courage and a “close-to-perfect organization.”
Even at this early stage of the campaign, the Reds head to the Etihad knowing victory will take them eight points ahead of one of their main title rivals-a substantial difference.
A win for City, however, with a game in hand, will lift Pep Guardiola’s side to within two points of the champions.
When the sides last met back in July, shortly after Liverpool was crowned champions of the league, City won 4-0, and Klopp believes that fixture is the perfect example of what can happen if your team is not fully prepared for the challenge.
If you’re not 100% focused on the game against City, you’re going to lose a major one! “He told the journalists. I’m not sure why I needed the game as evidence, but that’s 100% the case.
We won the league for the first time, but I had no idea how to prepare for the next game, to be honest. I didn’t want to overdo it like, ‘Boys forget about what happened three days ago, let’s show the whole world against the City’ blah, blah, blah, blah.
I know that my boys wanted to win the game, but we haven’t been as concentrated as we normally do in these games. We still played some decent football that night, but we didn’t score and they scored four times, sadly.
“But let me put it this way, it wasn’t the most serious loss of my life.”
Klopp’s record against Guardiola in general is a strong one. In fact, the Reds boss is the only one of all the managers who have faced the Catalan six times or more to have won more matches than he lost, a record he will retain if his side avoids defeat this weekend.
Then we can meet even more often, eh? “Before adding, he joked:” No, I ‘m glad we are not, to be honest!
I don’t know the records, but I know we met from time to time, and we didn’t lose all the matches. But I know every game has been extremely difficult, incredibly hard. They’re really intense, and that’s the only thing that concerns me, not the way we played in the last games.
We need to be ready to participate in this game, and you need to have a close-to-perfect organization for that, and you need to be very courageous, play football yourself, and even cause them problems.
It sounds so simple, it’s not rocket science, but it’s always so hard because you’re put under massive pressure.
“But that’s also what we should do. It’s always an interesting game, and hopefully, it’s also going to be on Sunday, because that’s going to mean that we were fine! In the right direction, that is the first move.
Klopp is likely to recall Joel Matip to his starting line-up, with Joe Gomez’s partner at the center-back expected by the Cameroon international.
He also faces an assault decision, with Diogo Jota pressing hard for a start after his midweek hat-trick against Atalanta in the Champions League.
For that game, Roberto Firmino was left on the bench, but could be brought back against City-either instead of, or instead of, Jota.
Thiago Alcantara will miss the knee injury game, joining on the sidelines Fabinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Virgil van Dijk.