| 14.2°C Dublin

Klopp: City the biggest force in world football


Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: PA

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: PA

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: PA

Liverpool must overcome "the biggest force in world football" to dethrone Manchester City this season, according to Jurgen Klopp.

City's trip to Anfield tomorrow has focused attention on Klopp's winning record against Pep Guardiola, who is hoping to avoid an unprecedented fourth consecutive defeat against the same club.

Klopp, however, sharpened minds on the scale of the task not only to repeat past victories, but also to sustain a title challenge against such a powerful, rich and successful adversary.

"They are so strong. This team together with the club, the money they have and this manager is exceptional. It is a good match, a good combination," said Klopp.

"It makes them the biggest force at the moment - together with PSG - in world football. We have to battle and fight with them for different things in the league, and maybe in the Champions League at one point if it comes to that again."

Liverpool's manager attributed his seven victories over Guardiola - he was also successful at Borussia Dortmund - to "courage and good luck".

"It is not that when I faced teams of Pep Guardiola I had a team of names that nobody knew and I had only met them the day before. The mix of quality and attitude is important," said Klopp.

When shown a video from the City documentary when Guardiola fretted about facing Liverpool's front three ahead of last season's Champions League meeting, Klopp shrugged it off.

"I have no clue what they think about us. I didn't watch that documentary, I heard about it and, now I saw it, is there anything where you think, 'Wow?'" said Klopp.

"What I know, because I know how I would be in that situation, is that they lost the quarter-finals against us last year and the league game here after a long run without a defeat and they want to respond."

The Halfway Line Newsletter

Get the lowdown on the Irish football scene with our soccer correspondent Daniel McDonnell and expert team of writers with our free weekly newsletter.

This field is required

On the suggestion that City and Liverpool could become the next great Premier League rivalry, Klopp said others could not be discounted.

"I wouldn't sit here now and say, 'Yes, this is the game between the two big ones, United is not there any more,'" he said. "We played Chelsea twice last week. I cannot understand how we can ignore them. They are much more proven winners than we are."

If Guardiola is still worried about Liverpool's front three, Klopp can be forgiven for harbouring private concerns based on recent performances. The attacking thrust has been absent but Klopp effectively reiterated that form is temporary, class is permanent.

"Look, if, as a manager, I would overestimate any kind of performance, then it is a constant up, down," he said.

"'How good is he? He is so bad, what is he doing here?' It does not work like that. We judge the players before they came in and from that time we work together.

"I worked with people who dropped form usually much more often than these boys did so far."

However, since scoring in a 4-0 win over West Ham on the league's opening weekend, Mohamed Salah has scored just twice but Klopp is convinced that the Egyptian will soon be back to his best.

"Obviously, expectations changed, that's normal. He set completely new standards last year, but for all the rest (of his game) it's what he did last year.

"Nobody expected 10 goals after five, six or seven games (last season), so it was a nice surprise. Each striker could write a book about these moments when you score without knowing how exactly it works, how you did it, with each ball in a perfect way and stuff like that," said the German manager.

"I am completely relaxed. I didn't say Mo should relax because he has to work hard, but that's what he is doing. It is a completely normal situation, nothing to worry about and I am relaxed about it."

© Daily Telegraph, London

  • Liverpool v Manchester City, Live Sky Sports, tomorrow 4.30

Most Watched