Klopp wary of being hurt by 'wounded' Blues

LONDON • Juergen Klopp has warned Liverpool to beware of a "wounded" Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and insisted he has total respect for Jose Mourinho's managerial career.

The Reds visit the struggling champions today with the German seeking a third win in five matches against Mourinho, having faced the then Real Madrid coach four times with Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.

Mourinho is under intense pressure after a run of one win in seven matches and Tuesday's League Cup exit against 10-man Stoke City. But Klopp believes Chelsea could be more dangerous opponents as a consequence.

The new Liverpool manager said: "Do the Chelsea players not know any more how to play football? No, of course not.

"They did well in the last game.

"Last year, you know how Chelsea play - very good defence, very good structure and with the quality to finish the situation up front.

"It was not only (Eden) Hazard but (Diego) Costa, Oscar and Ramires, all great football players.

"Set-pieces too are very dangerous with John Terry and (Gary) Cahill. It's difficult to play against Chelsea...

"They were full of self-confidence last year so maybe that makes a difference now but to be wounded, sometimes that makes you stronger too."

Stamford Bridge also hosts a clash of two of the biggest managerial personalities in the Premier League today though Klopp avoided fuelling any perceived rivalry with Mourinho.

"When I was in Germany, we sent some messages," he revealed.

"For my side, I am full of respect for his work. When you are not a journalist or a referee, he can be a nice guy. "

Klopp also downplayed the significance of the match despite the modern rivalry between the two clubs.

Recent meetings have dictated who appeared in the Champions League and FA Cup finals.

Last year's clash effectively cost Liverpool their first Premier League title.

"It is a big match. But in the end, it is football. I've been a football manager 15 years and had big matches in the past," Klopp said.

"In history, it was a great game. Now, it's ninth against 15th.

"We have a chance to improve our situation and that's what we want to do."

He has been boosted by the news that Belgian striker Christian Benteke is fit again after missing the League Cup win over Bournemouth with a knee problem.

Forward Daniel Sturridge, however, is again unavailable with a knee injury.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2015, with the headline 'Klopp wary of being hurt by 'wounded' Blues'. Print Edition | Subscribe