Wednesday 21 August 2019

We are better prepared - Klopp

Klopp:
Klopp: "Of course they (Chelsea) are the team to beat because they are very experienced, maybe the most experienced team in the top flight at the moment." Photo: Reuters / Carl Recine

Timothy Abraham

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reckons Chelsea are their major rivals for the Premier League title - but claims they have been lucky with injuries.

Chelsea, who host Bournemouth today, could be nine points clear by the time Liverpool face Stoke City tomorrow.

Antonio Conte's side have won 11 consecutive league matches although Klopp thinks they have been fortunate not to have lost any of their key players for significant periods of the season.

"Of course they (Chelsea) are the team to beat because they are very experienced, maybe the most experienced team in the top flight at the moment," Klopp said.

"If they go on like this they are the deserved champions, nobody could have a doubt about this.

"I am pretty sure that until now Chelsea are maybe the team that have had the most luck with injuries.

"We lost Phil (Coutinho) and Daniel (Sturridge) and Danny Ings in difficult moments when you really could use them.

"If it's Eden Hazard and Diego Costa at Chelsea, is it the same afterwards?

"It's a long season and they all have to play us again and not only us, they have to play Arsenal again and all of the others."

Klopp also believes he is more prepared for the Premier League's frantic festive fixture schedule this time round.

The German had his first taste of English football's hectic Christmas period last season.

It was in complete contrast to his experiences in the Bundesliga with Mainz and then Borussia Dortmund where the players have the luxury of a winter break.

Klopp believes the strength of the bond which has grown between his players will carry them through a notoriously demanding part of the campaign.

"We are better equipped than last year," Klopp said. "We are in another situation now; we know each other much better. We have a big bunch of wonderful experiences together and that makes us all stronger.

"You have to play Stoke, City and Sunderland and they have all their things what they want to reach. It is difficult, but not impossible, and as long as it is not impossible I am ready to fight."

Chelsea have a less intensive festive schedule than the Reds as they face three matches in 10 days, while Liverpool face three games in seven days.

However, Klopp refused to complain about the vagaries of the fixture computer.

"Would I like to change? Yes. Can I? No. So why should I think about it," he added. "I have never had this moment of 44 hours between two games in a family celebrating period for nearly everybody in the Christian world.

"That is a challenge. We have to accept it. We accepted it a long time ago, it is nothing."

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