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Monday 5 December 2016

Jurgen Klopp confident Liverpool can compete with the best

Published 09/09/2016 | 16:06

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, left, with owner John Henry ahead of the opening of the Anfield Main Stand which they believe will help close the gap on their rivals
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, left, with owner John Henry ahead of the opening of the Anfield Main Stand which they believe will help close the gap on their rivals

Manager Jurgen Klopp is confident Liverpool can bridge the gap to the Premier League's big-spenders and promised to give their top-four rivals "hell" this season.

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Saturday's visit of champions Leicester, who won the title on a budget considerably smaller than some of the so-called bigger clubs, will also mark the first use of the new Main Stand at Anfield which has increased capacity to 54,000.

While that has helped reduce the deficit with the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City - who all had bigger net spends in the summer transfer window - off the pitch, Klopp admits what really matters is what happens on the field of play.

"We are the only people that can change our circumstances, nobody else will do it for you," he said.

"You can say 'But they have this, they have that' - it is useless. We will work with what we have.

"We have to do more from our side. We want to go to the best teams in the world and give them hell in the moment we face them - in Manchester, in London, wherever I don't care. This is football.

"If there is one part of life where you can challenge the best in the world, then it's football.

"It depends on our attitude. If always the people with the best circumstances would win, this world would be an ugly place.

"We all have the chance to fight for everything. It's not about having a guarantee, it's about having the opportunity.

"And now, looking at this (the new stand), it's even better. On a day like this, we shouldn't think someone has more than us, but only how much we have to use."

Chairman Tom Werner, who was on Merseyside with principal owner John Henry and Fenway Sports Group president Mike Gordon for the official opening of the new stand, is also confident the club can now compete with wealthier rivals.

"Today was a step forward," he said after the ceremony to open the £115million rebuild, which has added an additional 8,500 seats and taken the ground's capacity to 54,000.

"There is still a gap but in the end it's about the performance on the pitch.

"You can see Leicester won the league last year without the highest payroll. It's all about winning football and I think this will certainly contribute to that."

Klopp made a number of changes in the summer, bringing in seven new signings to strengthen the squad and Werner believes the German - who was handed a new six-year contract in the summer after just nine months in charge - will deliver.

"Well I'm optimistic. I think that the squad is very strong. Obviously there's a lot of competition in the league but I'm excited about it.

"This is Jurgen's first full year and we're extremely optimistic about the future.

"It's all about winning on the pitch and hopefully this (stand) will contribute to that."

Klopp has called for the extra 8,500 fans in the new stand to help boost the atmosphere and his team.

The German took his squad to train in front of the impressive structure on Thursday night to allow themselves to familiarise themselves with the new surroundings ahead of tomorrow's match.

He expects fans and players alike to be inspired by the new-look Anfield.

"If anyone comes in here and thinks that this stadium doesn't give us a chance to fight then they are dead - no emotions or whatever. They can't feel this place," the manager added.

"The new players couldn't really compare (to the old stand). For them it's big, massive, impressive and 'Okay, that's how it is', but the other players walked out and they were stunned.

"You were here against Chelsea (in May) and it just seems not possible that it could be like this now.

"I couldn't think how it would work. It was a big shock to see it - a good one - and it's much better than I could've imagined."

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