Klopp hails Pep's men as toughest opponents in EPL

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp gesturing on the touchline during the English Premier League football match against Arsenal on March 4, 2017.
Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp gesturing on the touchline during the English Premier League football match against Arsenal on March 4, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted yesterday that his side will face one of their toughest tests of the English Premier League season against Manchester City tomorrow.

"We know it can be difficult to play in games like this," he said at a press conference. "We know we have to be at our best to get anything there.

"We've felt good in games like these so far but for me, City are the most difficult team to play. It's real football, difficult to defend."

City lost 1-3 to Monaco in the Champions League on Wednesday and were knocked out of the round of 16 on the away-goals rule (6-6 on aggregate). City's slack marking allowed Monaco to squeeze through.

Nevertheless, Klopp was impressed by what he saw.

"We all know about the quality of Man City. The way they played against Monaco was quite impressive," he said. "I don't they will be affected by their defeat in Europe. They will want to strike back.

"If you are passive against City, you have no chance."

Klopp also praised City manager Pep Guardiola despite the Spaniard finding it difficult to make a mark in his debut season in England.

"I would say Pep Guardiola's Barcelona squad was the perfect role model for a winning situation. It was an outstanding combination," said the former Borussia Dortmund manager. "It was also another really good generation at Bayern Munich, there was not a second team in Germany, we tried to be it but it didn't happen.

"Coming here (for Guardiola), it's the most difficult league in the world. It's really difficult to become champions in England... the culture is different.

"I am not in doubt about his qualities. I respect him a lot. I have played him a lot and it is difficult to play his teams."

Regarding his team, the German revealed that Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge have "no chance" of making the trip to the Etihad Stadium tomorrow.

"(Roberto) Firmino (who missed last week's home win over Burnley through injury) didn't train with the team so far, but should either today or tomorrow," he added.

Divock Origi, who replaced the Brazilian in the starting line-up against Burnley, is also struggling for fitness after falling ill.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2017, with the headline 'Klopp hails Pep's men as toughest opponents in EPL'. Print Edition | Subscribe