After Liverpool’s impressive 4-1 win against Stoke City last night, Jurgen Klopp is anticipating a tough clash against Manchester City.
The German claimed that Pep Guardiola’s presence in the crowd was a sign of importance when the Citizens visit Anfield on the New Year’s Eve.
Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino, an Imbula own goal and Daniel Sturridge scored to leapfrog Manchester City in the league table. Liverpool reclaimed second place in the league and now face a feisty test at home against the men in blue from Manchester.
“It is a big game,” he said.
“It is a big game for both. I heard Pep Guardiola was here in the stadium tonight. I’m not sure if he watched a lot of games in the last few weeks in other stadiums of opponents – that is a first sign it is a special game and we are already looking forward to it.”
“It is a difficult game for both teams but exciting and the best thing is it is at Anfield. They are an outstanding side, we are not too bad, so it will be a nice game.”
“I respect them a lot but I was not in the City stadium this season or last season, only to play games. Maybe he was here to watch good football, I have no idea. Michael Edwards, the sporting director, sent me the message that Pep was in the stadium. Is it unusual? I don’t know. I did it a lot in the past. It is not too easy any more because it is more a signing hour than watching the game. Hopefully we had no security and Pep had to write all these autographs.”
“The game is the 31st. Whatever I say tonight we cannot win it but maybe I could say a few things that could make it more difficult. It is probably best I shut my mouth.”
Jurgen Klopp on Liverpool’s recovery from a slow start in the first half: “I would say confidence is not a problem of the team at the moment,” he said.
“We know of our quality all of the time. The start of the game was really difficult because the plan of Stoke was to press really high, especially with the two strikers, so we were not patient enough in our passing game that moment. It was pressure but we could have done much better.”
“It became a wild game and when they had the ball it was immediately in the air and [Peter] Crouch did outstanding. It was really difficult to defend. Joe Allen was brilliant getting to the second balls and we had to work really hard.”
“The game was completely open and we in our creating of our moments struggled a little bit with protection, possession game, holding, keeping the winger.”
“A lot of things we could have done better. But we forced two goals with our quality. It was really good, really important – both of them: 2-1 up and we could speak at half-time, adjust a few things then the boys did better. We got a wonderful third goal and then Daniel closed the game. That was really important.”
“Stoke is a good team and obviously Mark Hughes likes to bring Crouch against Liverpool. I don’t know how often we played them but Crouch was always involved I think.”
Refusing to comment on Lucas Leiva’s transfer situation, Jurgen Klopp emphasized that Firmino’s place was never in jeopardy despite his drink and driving arrest on Christmas Eve.
“He was the best man in training so there was no chance to leave him out. No chance.”