Saturday 18 November 2017

Jurgen Klopp calls for cool heads and clean play in Merseyside maelstrom

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has demanded 'cool heads' when Everton head to Anfield tonight. Photo: PA
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has demanded 'cool heads' when Everton head to Anfield tonight. Photo: PA

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp wants to banish the Merseyside derby reputation as the dirtiest game in the Premier League and has demanded "cool heads" when Everton head to Anfield tonight.

There have been 20 red cards in the sides' last 46 league meetings, including 11 in the last 22, although it has been five years since the last one. Klopp has absorbed the fixture's history prior to his first one, although he has enough knowledge of high-intensity local derbies in Germany to understand that emotions must be kept in check.

"Look at the Dortmund statistics over the past few years. Always first, second or third in the fair play (league)," said Klopp.

"I look very aggressive on the sidelines but never once do I even say to do a tactical foul because I do not like it too much.

"It is about football and it is a fair game. You can win it legal. . . I understand aggression but be prepared to hurt yourself, not someone else."

Klopp, meanwhile, has warned against "squeezing" Daniel Sturridge too hard after his return to fitness and form. He has scored three Mersey derby goals and is one short of a 50th Liverpool goal in 86 appearances, rivalling the strike rates of both Ian Rush and John Aldridge .

"He is in brilliant shape, the best since I have been here. That is the best thing for us, for him, for England," said Klopp. "But you cannot use him like an orange and take each little bit of the juice."

Everton boss Roberto Martinez must plan without Irish international Seamus Coleman but the Spaniard refused to rule Coleman out of his plans for the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday.

Liverpool v Everton, Live, Sky Sports 1, 8.0

Irish Independent

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