Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Klopp excited to see fans back at Anfield as Liverpool prepare for Palace ´fight´

SoccerNews in English Premier League 21 May 2021

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Jurgen Klopp hopes the return of fans to Anfield can help spur Liverpool on as they aim to come through an “intense” clash with Crystal Palace and clinch a Champions League spot.

A 3-0 triumph at Burnley on Wednesday lifted Liverpool up to fourth in the table, above Leicester City on goal difference and just a point behind third-placed Chelsea.

The Reds wrap up an eventful season by hosting Palace on Sunday, with 10,000 fans allowed to attend the fixture following changes in social distancing restrictions.

The game will see outgoing Eagles boss Roy Hodgson come up against one of his former clubs, too, with Klopp well aware of the challenge the visitors will pose to his team.

However, the German – who admitted he has become accustomed to coping with stress on the final day – wants those inside the ground to show a little patience if things do not go immediately to plan, acknowledging there is still work to do despite a recent upturn in fortunes.

“You have to fight to it, I respect Crystal Palace too much and what they want to do for Roy in possibly his last game as a manager,” he said of a top-four finish being in Liverpool’s hands.

“I’m pretty sure they will want to give absolutely everything, and rightly so, just like the last few opponents did.

“Obviously we will have supporters back and I’d like to take the opportunity to welcome them all – you cannot imagine how much I’m looking forward to seeing them again, at least 10,000 of you.

“But it’s really important that with all the excitement we feel, we don’t lose patience after a minute or something like that. We need the best support possible, very supportive, very encouraging, just like we left each other what feels like years ago.

“It will be a really intense game and, when you fight for the Champions League, it should be intense.”

Klopp added during his pre-game media conference: “The door opened a little bit for us, but when that happens you must step through. That’s what the boys have done so far, but there is still one game to go. That’s what we have to focus on.

“It was a strange season; nothing will change that. It was an intense season; nothing will change that. But we have it now in our hands to make a top, top finish.

“It’s not done yet. There is an opponent and this is football, that is why we are really, really not even close to any kind of celebration or whatever. We are only focused on the 95 minutes we will play.”

Liverpool won the reverse fixture against Palace 7-0 back in December, a stunning result on the road that moved the defending champions five points clear at the top.

A run of just three victories in their next 14 league outings led to a slide down the table, yet a rejuvenated Reds have moved into a strong position to clinch Champions League qualification with a four-game winning streak down the stretch.

Klopp insists he will not be taking anything from that stunning result at Selhurst Park, making clear the final scoreline was not a fair reflection of how the game panned out.

“It’s not really helpful, apart from a goal difference point of view,” the former Borussia Dortmund boss said.

“It was not a 7-0 game that day, Palace had chances of their own, it was more a crazy one, really open with chances here and there.

“The difference was we took ours; I think we had seven shots on target and scored seven goals. It was one of these lucky days you do not have a lot of in your life.

“This game will not be like that. Palace will want to make sure those kind of things don’t happen. Nobody has to worry that it will be like that, we just have to win the game.

“We know we will have to fight for this, the result from the first game is 0.0 relevant to us. There are moments when you use pictures from the first game [in team meetings], but none from that game will be shown to the boys.”

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