Big Match

Emery has no edge: Klopp

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp during a match between Liverpool and Cardiff City in Anfield, Liverpool, on Oct 27, 2018.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp during a match between Liverpool and Cardiff City in Anfield, Liverpool, on Oct 27, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

Reds boss says Europa League loss to Sevilla under Spaniard has no bearing on big clash

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp believes Unai Emery's arrival at Arsenal has lifted the club's players out of the "comfort zone" they enjoyed under Arsene Wenger.

Liverpool visit the Emirates Stadium today, four points clear of the Gunners who, despite losing their opening two Premier League games under the new manager, have risen to fourth and won 12 of their last 13 matches in all competitions.

Klopp attributes the impressive run to Emery, who he claims went "under the radar" in England despite his successes with Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain, and the reaction of Arsenal players to a new voice on the training ground.

"Wenger is one of the best managers in the world," said Klopp at his pre-match press conference yesterday. He has not lost to Arsenal as Liverpool boss, with three wins and two draws from five matches.

"But, when the mood in a club changes, it's quite difficult to work against that. A change is only good if it is for the better.

"All football people know how good Emery is, but I am not sure all Arsenal fans were over the moon at first when they heard it would be him. That's England a little bit, you want the poster boys. I saw yesterday that he won eight titles in two or three years. That's pretty big."

Both managers will go head to head for the first time since the 2016 Europa League final. Emery, then in charge at Sevilla, got one over Klopp, with the LaLiga side coming from behind to win 3-1.

But the German dismissed the suggestion that Emery had the tactical edge. "You're giving managers too much credit if you think we have that much influence," he said.

The fixture also has a history of high scores, with 42 goals scored in their last nine league meetings, and Klopp feels it will be another high-octane affair in London.

"It doesn't look like that will change. It's a tough game. They (Arsenal) score a lot of goals and are really good offensively," he said. "We have to see how this game will develop. With two very offensive-oriented teams, it can happen."

Liverpool will be without Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita, but Klopp said Mohamed Salah is fit despite a tendon inflammation.

"Mo, it is nothing really serious. That's pretty much all," he added.

Emery has his own injury problems to contend with - there are doubts over defensive quartet Nacho Monreal, Sead Kolasinac, Hector Bellerin and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, while Matteo Guendouzi is banned.

But he is not using that as an excuse in his bid to rectify the Gunners' poor form against the top six.

"We want to write a new history. Our new history is with the present, and also with our players and with our quality," said the Spaniard, whose side have won just five out of 32 meetings with Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham since the 2015-16 season.



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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2018, with the headline 'Emery has no edge: Klopp'. Print Edition | Subscribe