Klopp's order: Stand tall

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp being interviewed by a club media official at the opening of Anfield's new Main Stand. The German said the presence of 8,000 more fans in the stadium will bring "more power" against Leicester today.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp being interviewed by a club media official at the opening of Anfield's new Main Stand. The German said the presence of 8,000 more fans in the stadium will bring "more power" against Leicester today.PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

New Main Stand will be pivotal in Reds' EPL title campaign as they take on Foxes

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp wants his Liverpool players to use the unveiling of Anfield's giant new Main Stand as the platform for a sustained Premier League assault.

Today's visit of champions Leicester City will see Liverpool officially open the redeveloped stand, which increases the capacity of their ground by 8,500 to 54,000.

The £115 million (S$207 million) project forced Liverpool to play their first three fixtures away from home and they picked up only four points on their travels.

"Four points does not feel too good, but it's not really bad. We are the only team in the Premier League with three away games," the German manager said.

"Now we start the season with a home game. We have to start the season and I think it's a wonderful opportunity for us.

"It's really, really impressive (the new stand). It's an outstanding job."

Only Liverpool and Arsenal beat Leicester in the league last season, and Klopp thinks Claudio Ranieri's men will be fitting adversaries for the occasion.

"This is a good place and a good opponent. The champions coming, we celebrate them all," said the German. "It was really well deserved, what they did last year. They are still good.

"But I would say it now: It's another season. It's our first home game with 8,000 more in the stadium. That's more power and we should use this. It's a wonderful opportunity."

Goalkeeper Loris Karius, a £4.7 million signing from Mainz, has returned to training after suffering a broken hand in pre-season.

But he is likely to have to wait to make his Liverpool debut, with Simon Mignolet expected to keep his starting place in goal.

Defender Ragnar Klavan is unavailable due to a knee injury, while midfielder Emre Can remains absent with an ankle problem.

Leicester will return to the scene of one of last season's few disappointments, with defeat at Anfield in December one of only three during their Premier League victory.

But Jamie Vardy approaches the game following a frustrating week with England, for whom he was an unused substitute against Slovakia.

Ranieri has urged his star striker to make a point to England manager Sam Allardyce by again being a thorn in Liverpool's side.

"For me, it is good; for him, no," said Ranieri of Vardy's England omission. "Maybe he is more hungry. Show me. You have to fight and say, 'Hey Sam, I am ready to play!' He's refreshed, he trained very well."

Ranieri could hand a debut to new record signing Islam Slimani, 28, who joined from Sporting Lisbon on transfer deadline day for a fee of around £30 million.

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LIVERPOOL v LEICESTER

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2016, with the headline 'Klopp's order: Stand tall'. Print Edition | Subscribe