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Midweeks off not welcome for Klopp

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp does not feel being absent from European football this season hands his team an advantage in the battle for the Premier League title.

Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool are locked together on 23 points at the summit after 10 matches, having each scored four times in impressive away wins on Saturday.

But while City and Arsenal face Barcelona and Ludogorets during midweek, Liverpool will rest up and be refreshed to unleash their energetic brand of attacking football on Watford next Sunday.

An arduous schedule took Klopp’s men to the finals of the League Cup and Europa League last term, only to suffer defeat in both and the former double-winner with Borussia Dortmund remains a firm believer in the mantra of success breeding success.

“Everyone talks about this [not playing in Europe] but I think 80 to 90 per cent of the time in Europe, the teams becoming champions are in the Champions League,” he told reporters.

“That’s how it is. Why? Because they have quality, they can rotate, they can rest ­whenever. It’s not too cool when you are not successful.

“Sometimes it’s an ­advantage, but in the end, why does a team win the league with all these intense games in midweek? Maybe they find an answer.”

Philippe Coutinho appears set to have a key say over any potential Liverpool success this season and the Brazilian attacker turned in another dazzling display at Selhurst Park, claiming a pair of assists.

Centre-back Dejan Lovren believes his team-mate is a match for any of the stars currently plying their trade in the Premier League.

Asked whether the ex-Inter man was the division’s best, Lovren told the Mirror: “In my opinion, yes, of course. I have the pleasure to play with this guy. He is playing for Brazil as well.

“He is a main part of the team, but like I said, it’s not an individual thing, it’s the team work. It is the team that won, not just one player.

“When a team works really good then this individual comes out and I think that was Philippe Coutinho.

“Coutinho was not just outstanding this time, he was like this last year, from the first day, but especially this time, he had perfect crosses.”

Sun 30 Oct, 2016
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