Big Match

3 wins but none the wiser

Napoli's match-winner Lorenzo Insigne celebrates after the midweek 1-0 Champions League win over Liverpool. The Reds, however, are still unbeaten in the Premier League.
Napoli's match-winner Lorenzo Insigne celebrates after the midweek 1-0 Champions League win over Liverpool. The Reds, however, are still unbeaten in the Premier League.PHOTO: REUTERS

Klopp says last season's triumphs over City are history, seeks reaction after Napoli defeat

LONDON • Liverpool's three victories over Premier League champions Manchester City last season do not mean they have their rivals' number as they start the new season on a clean slate.

That was the view of manager Jurgen Klopp ahead of tomorrow's clash at Anfield, which is already shaping up to be a six-pointer in this early part of the campaign.

The Reds beat City 4-3 in the league in January before arguably producing their best performance last term in a 3-0 home victory in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

Klopp's men went on to win 2-1 in the return leg at the Etihad Stadium, but the German has no intention to read much into past results.

"We beat City three times last season and not once after any of those games did we go into the dressing room and think, 'Now we know how to beat them'," he said.

"We have to be spot on, on our best to keep them away from our goal and create chances in front of their goal. It will be hard work, everybody knows it."

And left-back Andy Robertson concurred with his boss, insisting that the past had no bearing on tomorrow's meeting.

ONLY HARD WORK WILL DO

We beat City three times last season and not once after any of those games did we go into the dressing room and think, 'Now we know how to beat them'.

JURGEN KLOPP, Liverpool manager, on how last season's victories over Manchester City have little bearing on tomorrow's game.

"It's a new season," said the Scotland captain. "I'm sure (Pep) Guardiola will be looking at the three games where we managed to get one over on them and seeing what he can change. We have to be prepared for that.

"They ended up with the Premier League and that's what everyone strives for. They are the champions and they'll have a game plan. But, hopefully, our game plan is better."

While the two clubs are level on 19 points at the top of the table and are unbeaten in the league, Klopp does not view the encounter as one that will tilt the balance for the title.

"I don't think it makes too much sense at the moment to think about the title, but it's a home game against City and it's tough," he said.

"City is always tough, even when we won 3-0 in the Champions League. In the 4-3 (win), they were really good. They never gave up even at 4-1 down."

While Liverpool are still smarting from their deserved defeat by Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday, Klopp believes the manner of their loss has given his team renewed focus.

"We want to show a reaction. I didn't want to lose at Napoli, but if you ask me for the best preparation mood-wise, it's losing a game. We feel it now, we don't want to have that feeling again," he added.

The 51-year-old also dismissed concerns over the form of Mohamed Salah, who has three goals this term, and is convinced it is only a matter of time before the Egyptian forward starts hitting the back of the net in customary fashion.

"He set completely new standards last year (with a record 44 goals in all competitions) but, for all the rest, it's (exactly) what he did last year," he said.

"I am completely relaxed. It is a completely normal situation, nothing to worry about and I am relaxed about it."

Midfielder Naby Keita injured his back midway through the first half against Napoli, but it is not as bad as initially feared. As such, Klopp is in a positive frame of mind over his summer signing.

"It didn't look too serious so there's a chance (he can play)," he said.

REUTERS

LIVERPOOL V MAN CITY

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2018, with the headline '3 wins but none the wiser'. Print Edition | Subscribe