Tony Pulis has nothing but admiration for the “fantastic” Jurgen Klopp ahead of West Brom’s trip to Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday.
Charismatic German Klopp has proven a huge hit among both players and supporters at Anfield since taking over from Brendan Rodgers a little over two months ago.
Liverpool have won seven of their 13 games with Klopp at the helm, including emphatic victories at Chelsea, Manchester City and Southampton.
Last weekend’s surprise 2-0 defeat at Newcastle United checked the momentum gained by seven wins in eight games in all competitions, but Liverpool remain handily placed in the Premier League, just six points adrift of fourth spot.
Thursday’s 0-0 draw at Sion secured top spot in their Europa League group and West Brom head coach Pulis believes Klopp was an excellent appointment by the Anfield hierarchy.
“He’s a fantastic manager, his record shows that he’s been a top, top manager in Germany, working his way through and being successful and then going to Dortmund and doing an exceptional job there,” Pulis said at Friday’s pre-match news conference.
“He’s got one of the best clubs in England, with some top, top players, so he’ll have the opportunity to push them on and progress.
“He’s had a good start, he looks bright and breezy and his command of the English language is excellent, so it looks like he’ll be here to stay.”
Klopp raised eyebrows by opting to field such a strong team against Sion, with Liverpool’s place in the Europa League last 32 having already been secured.
But the 48-year-old – who handed captain Jordan Henderson his first start since August at the icy Stade de Tourbillon – is confident his players will be ready despite flying home just 48 hours before Sunday’s game.
“We knew before we came here that we have to play on Sunday,” he said after Thursday’s match.
“Now we have a short trip to the hotel, we can sleep, tomorrow we have to fly and then have a little [training] session.
“Then we’ll go home, come back and prepare for West Brom. That’s the job. We’ll try to use everything we can use, but first of all I will have to see West Brom tomorrow morning and then I’ll know more about what we can use from tonight.”
Klopp has no fresh injury concerns, although Jordon Ibe missed the trip to Switzerland due to illness and is a doubt.
Daniel Sturridge (hamstring) is out due to his latest injury setback, but Henderson and Philippe Coutinho came through unscathed on Thursday.
West Brom’s Stephane Sessegnon (hamstring) will not travel to Merseyside, although Saido Berahino could earn a recall after impressing Pulis with his attitude by playing and scoring for the club’s Under-21s on Monday.
Key Opta stats:
– Liverpool have won 19 and lost just two of the last 25 league games against West Brom at Anfield.
– West Brom have won five and lost just three of their last 11 Barclays Premier League away games.
– Only in 2012-13 (26) have West Brom had more points after 15 games of a Premier League campaign than they have this season (19).
– Liverpool have won just eight of their last 24 Premier League matches (W8 D7 L9) – this after winning eight of their nine PL games prior to this run.