Tuesday 25 June 2019

'Striking back is a duty in sport, a big part of what I love' - Jurgen Klopp eyes revenge over Chelsea

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is eager for revenge against Chelsea (Dave Thompson/PA)
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is eager for revenge against Chelsea (Dave Thompson/PA)

David Charlesworth

Jurgen Klopp has his sights set on immediate revenge over Chelsea after the Blues ended Liverpool's perfect start to the season.

Eden Hazard's superb late solo effort after coming off the bench clinched a 2-1 Carabao Cup victory for Chelsea at Anfield on Wednesday night.

Both teams fielded largely second string outfits and will be back to full strength for this weekend's blockbuster Premier League encounter at Stamford Bridge.

But Klopp admitted there is added motivation for the Reds, having tasted defeat for the first time in this campaign following seven consecutive victories in all competitions.

The Liverpool manager said: "We want to strike back, of course, but you lose once, it can happen.

"Striking back is a duty in sport, a big part of what I love. In a season you always play twice. It's not easy to play a team in August and then say in May 'let's strike back' but in three days, it's possible. Let's try.

"It will not be an easy game, both teams know that. But the best preparation for the Saturday game is the Wednesday game, because you can never know more about an opponent than in a match against them.

"Of course there will be a few different players on the pitch, but we try to use our information from Wednesday to do it better."

The league leaders can open up a five-point gap between themselves and Chelsea if they continue their 100 per cent top-flight record this term at teatime on Saturday.

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But that is not Klopp's concern as he said: "I don't think in this category.

"It's difficult enough to try to win the game or get a point at Chelsea, I don't think about the five-point gap, and the five-point gap with 31 games to go is nothing. It's only about gaining points on our account."

He also refused to countenance a setback against Maurizio Sarri's men in midweek as a blessing in disguise, despite Liverpool's congested fixture list easing a little following their EFL Cup exit.

He said: "We do the job to play all the games somebody gives us. All competitions we are in, we want to win. I said before the game, the stadium will be full which means we have to be at 100 per cent. That's what we tried to do.

"It was a real cup game, and both teams showed how important this cup is for them. And I like that. We lost, and that's not cool, but that's all."

Klopp expects Trent Alexander-Arnold and Georginio Wijnaldum to feature against Chelsea after illness and a knock respectively, but Virgil van Dijk is a major injury doubt.

The club record signing aggravated a rib problem in the Reds' 3-0 victory over Southampton last week and has not trained with the first team since, so Dejan Lovren or Joel Matip could start at the back.

Klopp added: "Virgil is a world class player, there's no doubt about that. And if you miss a world class player, it's always not cool.

"If Virgil is fit and can play, then he will play. But if not, then obviously we have options and that's really good.

"We could play football before Virgil van Dijk and we can play football without Virgil van Dijk, thank God."

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