Wednesday, December 1

Klopp appreciates Chelsea’s ‘smart business’ ahead of Anfield appointment | Liverpool


TThe change at Chelsea this season may not be limited to the 97.5 million pound attacking focal point, older and wiser. As Liverpool can attest, there is nothing like a Champions League win for the momentum required to clinch the Premier League title as well.

Similar to their 2020 Liverpool title winners, could Saturday’s visitors to Anfield transfer the confidence that comes with reign in Europe in a fight held for Manchester City’s domestic crown? “I hope not, but it is possible,” says Jürgen Klopp.

That is the relentless expectation of Thomas Tuchel and his players this season. As Klopp goes to great lengths to point out, he is no different at Liverpool, despite the setbacks that derailed his title defense last time out. If anything, Klopp suggested, his team may be stronger for them.

Chelsea won many awards last night [at the Uefa awards ceremony in Istanbul] – goalkeeper, midfielder, coach – and that never hurts confidence, ”continues the Liverpool manager. “Hopefully we beat them tomorrow, which is quite difficult, and when we face them again. All the other games have nothing to do with each other, so if everyone wins, when we both win, it will be enough for them.

“Being successful helps, I can tell you, and you want to have more, but with this strange year in the middle and difficulty in the middle, we also want to be successful. We are also quite ambitious. Is it possible for us? Nobody knows. But we will try properly.

“We know this league, and not only from this transfer window, it is the strongest league in the world. Nobody doubts it. And being ambitious in this league means you have to be ready to take a few hits, take a few hits here and there, and be ready to get up and go again. If we can do that, with the quality that we have, then the only plan was always to beat the best teams in the world, whoever they are.

“We never thought of being the best team in the world. Obviously at the moment nobody thinks that we are the best team in the world, well, but we still want to beat the best teams and Chelsea won the Champions League, and there are not many tournaments that are more important.

Romelu Lukaku, then at Manchester United, blocks Virgil van Dijk from the ball in a 2018 match at Anfield.  Jürgen Klopp says:
Romelu Lukaku, then at Manchester United, blocks Virgil van Dijk from the ball in a 2018 match at Anfield. Jürgen Klopp says: “It will also appear in the other middle half.” Photograph: Carl Recine / Action Images / Reuters

Both Liverpool and Chelsea have started the new Premier League season 100% without conceding a goal. The fit Virgil van Dijk and Joël Matip have been instrumental in the impressive start of the former. Klopp’s complaint about “wrestling” in Saturday’s win over Burnley was a huge exaggeration, but it did not detract from his center-backs’ authorized performances against Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood.

They face another physical test against Romelu Lukaku, whose only goal at Anfield was in the colors of West Brom more than eight years ago, although Klopp does not believe that the duel between Van Dijk and the new Chelsea signing will shape it all. the pageant.

The Liverpool manager explains: “What Thomas Tuchel did there was really good. The way they build, the way they play is a clear but very flexible structure. They are wide most of the time with the wings and have players in the half spaces with double 10 or double six. Very flexible players. And now a suitable target player up front.

“Last year, people talked very often that Chelsea were playing really well, but they didn’t solve enough situations, and that was obviously the idea behind signing Romelu. Smart business. But the good thing about soccer is that there is no soccer that you cannot defend at all. It can be more complicated and more difficult, against us it is not too easy to defend, to be honest, but unfortunately it is possible, so these are the different aspects.

“You can make the headline you want to write about Romelu and Virgil, but I suppose he will also appear in the other middle half. If we only focus on Romelu, then Kai [Havertz] and Mason [Mount] will punish you. That is the situation. It’s a good football team, that’s why they won the Champions League. We are also a good soccer team. We have had enough time to train and talk about it.

“Today there is another meeting with the boys and we will show them, as we have already done, what we want to do to cause problems for them because we must not ignore the fact that that is also possible.”

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Lukaku’s arrival makes Chelsea a more difficult proposition and calls for a shift in Liverpool’s approach, admits Klopp, who insists that stopping supply to the Belgian international at source will be key. “Romelu is a great fixed point,” he adds.

“Maybe you can find him in the bands at times, but it’s not like he’s there most of the time. He really wants to keep the middle halves in the center, to have these challenges, to have body contact, all these kinds of things. So you have around him running wild and really nifty guys. If you let them cross, every ball that goes into the box immediately becomes a major problem. So it was with [Olivier] Giroud too. It’s really not that easy [against Chelsea]. They are impressive. It’s like always in football, if you don’t want to have problems in one area, you should avoid passing there. That is what we will try. “


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