Reds are more than 'Fab Four'

Sadio Mane could become the first Liverpool player to score in three successive Premier League Merseyside derbies since Robbie Fowler in November 1996.
Sadio Mane could become the first Liverpool player to score in three successive Premier League Merseyside derbies since Robbie Fowler in November 1996.PHOTO: REUTERS

While Salah, Coutinho, Firmino and Mane are hot, Klopp says it is team effort behind excellent form

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp has warned Everton they will have more to contend with than Liverpool's outstanding attacking "Fab Four" today as he attempts to equal a Merseyside derby record.

Liverpool are unbeaten in 14 matches against their local rivals and can equal a club record of 15 consecutive derbies without defeat, set in the 1970s, against Sam Allardyce's team at Anfield.

Everton's dire return fuels Liverpool optimism - they have not won across Stanley Park since 1999 - but it is the devastating form of Mohamed Salah, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane that has given Klopp's team impressive momentum going into the game.

The quartet scored all the goals in the 7-0 Champions League rout of Spartak Moscow on Wednesday and have netted 46 goals between them in all competitions this season, 11 more than the entire Everton team.

However, Klopp insists that there is far more to his side.

"I have no problem with nicknames like the Fab Four but it's disrespectful to all the other players," the Liverpool manager said.

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    Goals the "Fab Four" have scored out of 33 league goals this season.

"We played a fantastic game at West Ham and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was also involved (besides the four of them).

"We didn't have Adam Lallana so far and I think he would also fit fantastically in each boy group or band in this world. We also have Daniel Sturridge and Dom Solanke. That's not fair on them.

"We have played really good football this season... In the last few weeks it's been something like 66 shots and 33 goals. Before that we had the same number of chances but we didn't score."

Klopp is the only manager in Liverpool's history to win his first three derbies but he claimed Everton, under their new manager, would be a tougher proposition than Spartak.

The German also pointed out that Everton's Wayne Rooney, who is playing in his first Merseyside derby since his return in the summer, could be a threat.

The former Manchester United captain has scored eight goals in all competitions so far and Klopp was full of praise for the 32-year-old.

"He's still a fantastic player and he's shown that," he told the Liverpool Echo.

"I'm not sure if it's allowed but I like Wayne Rooney as a person. I've always liked him as a player. I would be silly not to worry about Rooney."

Rooney, who has never scored in the Merseyside derby, is relishing the clash.

"That was one of my big regrets when I left Everton (in 2004)," he said. "Not scoring in the derby. To score against Liverpool for Everton? That would be great."

Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson will be recalled to midfield after he was left out of the team in midweek, but left-back Alberto Moreno is out with an ankle injury.

Klopp added that form counts for next to nothing in the febrile atmosphere of a derby.

Although the Reds have netted 40 goals in their last 11 matches in all competitions, and have scored 19 in their six-match unbeaten run in the league, Klopp remains wary.

"We have to start really with the first whistle to do the right thing in the right moment," he said. "People will say, if you look at it, it will be difficult for Everton. It will be difficult for us as well. There are no favourites in a derby."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

LIVERPOOL V EVERTON

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 10, 2017, with the headline 'Reds are more than 'Fab Four''. Print Edition | Subscribe