Saturday, March 23, 2019

Klopp tells Liverpool to feel ´excited´ about chasing down Manchester City

SoccerNews in English Premier League 8 Mar 2019

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Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool should feel “optimistic and excited” in their quest to chase down Premier League leaders Manchester City.

A run of four draws in their last six league games has seen the Reds slip a point behind City with nine matches left this season.

The Reds host Burnley on Sunday knowing they will be four adrift of the champions if Pep Guardiola’s side defeat Watford a day earlier.

Klopp, though, says there is no reason to change their approach to matches simply because they are now playing catch-up in the title race.

“Luckily, we don’t have to change much,” he told a news conference. “The plan is still to win football games and that is difficult enough.

“We will know the City result before we start our game, but we won’t make a big fuss about it because we are just fighting for the top spot in the league and it’s important to be optimistic and excited.

“Our only problem this week is Burnley, and that’s enough. We have to be really good to beat this team. [Sean] Dyche is doing an amazing job, perhaps with not the best circumstances in the league.

“We have prepared for the fact it will be tough. When they play five at the back it doesn’t work out 100 per cent, if I am correct, so we expect 4-4-2.

“[Ashley] Barnes is good in the air and gets in behind and they are good on the wings. Crosses, we should expect.

“They also don’t have the majority of possession in games, so we need to be creative and patient.

“It will be difficult – they really fight and are highly motivated. When you watch their last three or four games, you give respect – they beat Tottenham.

“I’m sure they’re looking forward to this game.”

Klopp has laid down a challenge to supporters to create a good atmosphere at Anfield by abstaining from indulgences on Saturday night.

“We always have this question about when we have a 12 noon kick-off,” he said. “We don’t have issues with this anymore. We need atmosphere at 12 o’clock.

“If you have a ticket, go to bed at 10pm latest, don’t drink and be on your toes from the first to the last second.”

Klopp hopes to have Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez back this month, although Sunday’s game will come too early, but James Milner is nursing a minor problem.

“It’s a rather positive moment; it looks really good,” he said on injuries.

“Dejan trained [on Thursday] for the first time, [in] full, completely normal. Joe is now running with 100 per cent of his weight, because we have different opportunities to run. Now he is really at 100 per cent and it’s good, it looks good.

“Most of the [returns] will probably be after the international break, for example Joe and stuff like that. Dejan, we have to see. He was out for a while, so we have to see how his fitness is exactly.

“Millie, we will have to see. It is Millie, so everything heals quicker with him!

“He had a little muscle issue, but there are still two days to go until the game. I think if you ask Millie he would say, ‘I will be ready’, but we have to see.”

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