Jurgen Klopp warns Liverpool stars that facing Manchester City is ‘biggest challenge in world football’ as Reds seek to strike blow in title race
- Manchester City welcome title rivals Liverpool to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday
- Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp feels it is the ‘most difficult game in the world’
- But he added that in November he does not believe that will be a title decider
Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool are facing the biggest challenge in club football as they aim to make a statement for the rest of the season against Manchester City on Sunday.
Liverpool, who returned to the top of the table last week, would move eight points clear of fierce rivals City if they win at the Etihad Stadium for the first time in the league since November 2015. The task is made trickier by news that Klopp will again be without injured midfielder Thiago Alcantara.
City thrashed Liverpool 4-0 when the sides met in July — although Liverpool had been crowned champions a week earlier — while City’s 2-1 win in January 2019 was crucial in helping Pep Guardiola retain the title.
Jurgen Klopp feels facing Manchester City away is the ‘most difficult game in the world’
City go into the game 10th after six games but Klopp knows their squad has world class talents
The result on Sunday could again be pivotal in determining who will be the season’s dominant team, but Klopp is looking no further than the fixture ahead, explaining why it is such an important assignment.
‘The challenge with City is always the way they play with the players they have,’ said Klopp.
‘It is the most difficult game in world football, so we have to prepare for that. Other teams are really good. If we were now to face Bayern Munich, they are in a pretty good moment for a while already (but) I wouldn’t say that is a Sunday afternoon walk in the park.
Pep Guardiola will be looking for a repeat of the 4-0 win over Liverpool from back in July
‘It’s a massive and tough game. What you have to be aware of, and think about is that they have a good plan, a clear plan. In each position, they have a player who has the physicality and the technique to make a difference. They play a specific way, they are pretty dominant. But if they have to counter-attack they are strong — they have speed and creativity. That is not so cool when the other team has that and makes it pretty tricky.’
City’s form has not been scintillating so far — they have failed to score more than one in their last four league games — but Klopp is not falling into the trap of thinking they are out of sorts.
‘They are in really good shape,’ he argued. ‘If you don’t use all your chances, that can cause you a problem results-wise but for me, it is important that they had all these chances. That is what I have to think about. It is not if they finish them off or not because I know they will finish them off from a specific point and we just have to make sure it doesn’t happen on Sunday and they will not have that many.’
Klopp’s side had claimed the title but were left battered and bruised after the 4-0 loss in July
Klopp has admitted Thiago Alcantara (left) is not fit enough to face City on Sunday afternoon
Klopp will call on Joel Matip for the first time since October 17 to partner Joe Gomez and he has indicated that Roberto Firmino will lead his attack, even though Diogo Jota’s outstanding form has put pressure on the Brazilian.
‘I don’t have to say one word about Bobby Firmino and how important he was for us, I don’t waste time with that,’ said Klopp. ‘Who is not with us, I don’t care if they know about it to be honest. He was in so many games the difference-maker.
‘I would feel really embarrassed if I had to mention now the qualities of Bobby Firmino. I can’t help these people, sorry. If they don’t see it I cannot help them. That’s how it is.’