Klopp's Liverpool are EPL title contenders: Ferguson

LONDON • Liverpool will look to underline the strength of their squad when they continue their Premier League title challenge at Crystal Palace today. And they have found an unlikely supporter - Alex Ferguson.

The former Manchester United manager - and frequent adversary of the Reds - has praised the Merseyside club for having found their identity under manager Jurgen Klopp this season.

Liverpool have won nine of their 12 games in all competitions this season and are third in the league behind leaders Manchester City and Arsenal only on goal difference.

"(Klopp) has done a really good job and revived Liverpool's enthusiasm," said Ferguson.

"It can happen that big clubs lose it. For two decades, Liverpool changed managers without building their own identity.

"You can now well and truly sense that you have to count them in this year.

"You can see Klopp's dedication on the sideline, I'm convinced his work in training is similar. He's a strong personality. That's absolutely vital at a big club.

"I'm worried about him because the one thing United don't want is Liverpool to get above us."

Klopp fielded a completely different starting XI in their 2-1 League Cup win over Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday.

Most of those who impressed on Tuesday, including 18-year-olds Ovie Ejaria and Trent Alexander-Arnold, will return to the fringes this weekend. But midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum sees no reason why they should not be called on again.

"I think it's a good sign for a team that you have players who can come in and fit into the team immediately," he said. "And it's easy to make changes for a manager. It's not a problem when someone is out, as you can change to a player with good quality. It's a good thing for the team.

"It's not easy for a young player to play in a big game for a big club. A lot of players get nervous and lose confidence, but I didn't see it in these players."

Palace have yet to keep a clean sheet in the league this season and manager Alan Pardew says his side must maintain their concentration for 90 minutes against the Reds.

"They play high intensity and they're quick to the ball, and that's driven by the manager," he said.

"Liverpool will be looking for consistency now and if you catch them on the wrong day they can be very difficult."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2016, with the headline 'Klopp's Liverpool are EPL title contenders: Ferguson'. Print Edition | Subscribe