‘It was good we didn’t play Everton immediately, let’s say’: Jurgen Klopp urges his Liverpool stars to channel their anger in the RIGHT way in tomorrow’s rematch of the game that wrecked their season
Jurgen Klopp wants his Liverpool players to channel their anger in the right way in Saturday’s Merseyside derby with Everton, in what is a rematch of the tie which all but derailed their season earlier in the campaign.
Liverpool host their bitter city rivals at Anfield in the late kick-off, meeting Carlo Ancelotti’s side for the first time since late October when a frenetic 2-2 draw saw two major injuries, a red card and a stoppage time winner ruled out.
Speaking ahead of the showdown Klopp admits his men were left furious after seeing Jordan Pickford’s reckless challenge on Virgil van Dijk, which saw the Dutchman rupture his ACL and be ruled out for the season.
Pickford, to the shock of players and pundits alike, remained on the field and was not dismissed by the referee.
Jurgen Klopp wants his players to approach Saturday’s Merseyside derby in the correct way
Nonetheless, the Liverpool boss has urged his side to approach Saturday’s game in the correct manner and insists ‘nothing will be carried’ over into the match.
Addressing reporters on Friday in his pre-match press conference, Klopp said: ‘Nothing will be carried to tomorrow, that’s how it is.
‘A week later, two weeks later, three weeks later after we got the diagnosis [on Van Dijk] and all these kind of things, it was good we didn’t play Everton immediately again, let me say it like this.
It will be the first time the sides have met since October’s fiery fixture which saw big injuries
Virgil van Dijk ruptured his ACL after being crunched by Jordan Pickford, who was not sent off
‘That’s how it is. We’re all human beings and of course it was not nice but now its long gone.
‘We just don’t think about it any more, its still a derby and that’s enough to be motivated at the absolute highest level and trying to play the best football you can play and that’s it, pretty much.’
When pressed further and asked whether the derby clash against the Toffees earlier in the season marked the start of Liverpool’s failed mission to retain the title, Klopp considered the question for a few moments before replying: ‘What can I say – it was an important day, for sure.’
Despite any potential lingering animosity, Klopp was quick to praise the work done by Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti during his time on Merseyside, and admits the Toffees are closer than ever before to his Liverpool side.
Summer signing Thiago Alcantara was lucky not to leave the field with broken bones following a late challenge from Richarlison which resulted in a red card dismissal
An stoppage time goal from Jordan Henderson was ruled out, adding to the tension of the day
Klopp said: ‘They had good teams over the years, in the specific games it was most of the time close I think.
‘But a manager like Carlo helps each team in the world, it was clear beforehand. He has a really good squad and a really good team, and so yeah maybe they are closer than ever before, I don’t know.
‘From the position in the table for sure. That’s a while ago that we were that close, I think.’
‘So yes, probably closer than they have been ever before.’
Klopp again took the opportunity to heap praise on Carlo Ancelotti and his work at Everton
Regarding his squad options for the clash, which gets under way at 5.30pm on Saturday evening, Klopp revealed that a late call will be made on the fitness of returning midfielder Naby Keita.
The German did however admit that the game has come too soon for the likes of Fabinho, James Milner and Diogo Jota, who have not recovered in time.
Klopp explained: ‘Naby [Keita] trained yesterday with the team so we have to see what we make of it,.
Fab [Fabinho] was not in training, none of others as well. Nothing really new. They all getting closer, Fab gets closer, Milly [James Milner] gets closer, Diogo [Jota] but not close enough for weekend.’