Progress in all cups 'not possible'

Liverpool's Scottish defender Andrew Robertson (right) vies with Chelsea's Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in London, on May 6, 2018.
Liverpool's Scottish defender Andrew Robertson (right) vies with Chelsea's Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in London, on May 6, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

Klopp prefers to take one competition at a time ahead of double-header with Chelsea

LONDON • Liverpool are red-hot at the moment, being the only English Premier League side to have a 100 per cent winning record in all competitions so far.

And the Reds go into today's League Cup third-round tie against Chelsea at Anfield knowing that a win will boost their confidence for Saturday's away league clash against the same team, who are two points behind them in the table.

With seven straight victories including a win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, Liverpool have also recorded their best start to a season.

Despite their perfect run, manager Jurgen Klopp has warned that it is early days and it is "impossible" to think of winning a quadruple.

"With the League Cup, FA Cup, Europe (Champions League)... the FA (Football Association) must hope nobody gets through all the competitions because it's impossible to deal with it," the German said at a press conference yesterday.

"There was never a team who won all four trophies, right? Tomorrow night is one competition, not four. That's how we will take it, with all concentration, all focus, all intensity, normal game."

The 51-year-old has yet to win silverware since he took over at the Merseyside club in 2015, and his best result in the League Cup is a runners-up finish in 2016.

When asked if he feels the pressure to win a title, Klopp said: "I don't know exactly. What we think about is how we can win football games and improve our game. If you have a target, and you think too much about it, you'll struggle."

Similarly, his Chelsea counterpart Maurizio Sarri also spent three trophyless seasons at Napoli before joining the London club in the summer, but Klopp insisted that the Italian has his utmost respect.

"What a manager he is, I'm a supporter of him since I saw them playing in Naples, outstanding football," he said. "You see immediately the impact... all my respect. Good job so far. I don't know why people aren't talking about them. That is a really good, strong group."

The German added that he will be fielding a strong side against the Blues, only confirming goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to start in place of regular No. 1 Alisson.

Chelsea assistant coach Gianfranco Zola took over media duties from Sarri yesterday.

The Italian said: "It is an important game. We want to try to win all our games and we will take it seriously. It's an opportunity to see players who haven't had many games so far.

"It is not the Premier League, but we want to play the games as best as we can.

"As Chelsea, we are very greedy and will try to win both of them (the two matches against Liverpool this week). We will try to be competitive."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LIVERPOOL V CHELSEA

Singtel TV Ch111 & StarHub Ch202, tomorrow, 2.40am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2018, with the headline 'Progress in all cups 'not possible''. Print Edition | Subscribe