Klopp calls on Kop to conjure up 'special atmosphere'

LONDON • Shell-shocked after their Champions League capitulation in midweek and having been thrashed in two big Premier League clashes this season, Liverpool have their backs to the wall ahead of Chelsea's visit today.

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp, however, remains unfazed despite throwing away a 3-0 lead against Sevilla on Wednesday to draw 3-3, and has called on the Anfield faithful to provide a boost to his team.

"Yes, we made mistakes, yes, we were too passive. But we should have scored a fourth goal. It will be a different game versus Chelsea. If we can create a special atmosphere at Anfield that would help us," the German said in his pre-match conference ahead of the Premier League game today, according to BBC Sport.

Klopp also implied that the Blues are not as formidable as they were last season on their way to becoming champions.

"They lost decisive players with (Nemanja) Matic and (Diego) Costa. With Chelsea last year, everything worked," he said.

"They didn't need many chances to win a game. It's difficult to play the same season again, especially when you lose players."

One player whom Chelsea lost, albeit a year ago, is current Premier League top scorer Mohamed Salah (nine goals) and Klopp insisted that the Egyptian has nothing to prove when he faces his former club today.

The 25-year-old has been impressive for the Reds this season, but he failed to make an impact during his time at Stamford Bridge.

"He was very young in a very strong team and didn't come through," Klopp said.

"Another player similar is Kevin de Bruyne (of Manchester City) and he is not doing too bad now.

"Chelsea already had a fantastic offensive team. Nobody is to blame and for sure not Mo."

Liverpool have won their last three league games - scoring 10 goals and conceding only one.

Events in Seville, however, revealed the soft underbelly previously seen in September's 5-0 drubbing at City and last month's 4-1 loss at Tottenham remains an issue.

For Chelsea, Antonio Conte is looking fresh even though his players may be tired after jetting back from their Champions League 4-0 win against Qarabag in Baku in the early hours of Thursday.

Conte shaved off his beard and said that the decision to do so was solely because of his daughter.

"I wanted to try a new look but yesterday my daughter killed me because she said to me 'Daddy, you're looking older with the beard'. Then I decided to get rid of it," the Italian told Sky Sports.

Asked if his wife instructed him to shave, he retorted: "My daughter is more important than my wife."

Conte may be all smiles when he spoke about his daughter, but he is not happy to have had just one full day to prepare for today's big clash.

"I think to get to your house at six o'clock in the morning is not simple to then rest and recover," he said.

"We've only had one day to prepare for a big game and I think this is not right, I must be honest.

"But we have to do this and today we've had a good training session and we've tried to prepare for the game against Liverpool very well."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 25, 2017, with the headline 'Klopp calls on Kop to conjure up 'special atmosphere''. Print Edition | Subscribe