Klopp's Liverpool host City in a top-of-the-table clash this weekend.

Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool, Man City rivalry "getting bigger and bigger"

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  • 2019-11-09 00:10:15 4 months ago
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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes the growing rivalry between them and Manchester City is proof his side are a genuine threat to their next opponents.

The Reds hold a six-point lead over City ahead of Sunday's visit to Anfield and, although Klopp rates Pep Guardiola as "the best manager in the world", he believes the teams are on an equal footing.

"I think it's getting bigger and bigger. I am here for four years, what can I say about traditions?" said the German, whose side lost out by a point in last season's thrilling title race.

"We live in the now and obviously Man City is a pretty good football team and that means of course there is a rivalry.

"Thank God there is a rivalry as that means we are in a not bad place as well.

"In the last nearly two years it feels like each game we played was the most decisive of the season. There is not one where anyone said 'You can lose that'.

"Nothing changes, you cannot make games bigger than they are already. It is already a very important game and you cannot make it more important."

Klopp (left) believes City boss Guardiola is the best in the business
Klopp (left) believes City boss Guardiola is the best in the business (Martin Rickett/PA)

Liverpool's advantage is such that a draw would probably suit Klopp more than Guardiola, who even when the sides were level on points for the same fixture last October adopted a more conservative approach.

However, Klopp admits if his players even begin to entertain any defensive or negative thoughts they will be punished.

"You cannot be only offensive but if you are not brave against Man City you have no chance, not even for a point," he added.

"You have to create, your positioning must be nearly perfect, protection must be perfect, (you should have) different ideas.

"You have to try to adapt to the things your opponent is doing usually and make sure they cannot do that and that can lead to other things."

The match will also mark the return to Anfield of Liverpool fan Sean Cox, who sustained life-changing injuries in an attack by Roma fans outside the ground in April 2018.

Cox, who was in a coma for a time after the assault, and his family will be hosted by the club, whose Legends side raised £640,000 for the Sean Cox Rehabilitation Trust with a match in Dublin in April.

The news has given Klopp a boost ahead of the game.

"When it happened to Sean it was probably the lowest point for me in my whole time at Liverpool because that is something that should not happen in life and it should not happen around a football game," said the manager.

"(The fact) we can give him the opportunity to come back to watch a really big game – and he wants to do that – for me, coming from a low point, is one of my highlights since I've been here.

"I am really looking forward to it. I hope we can organise for me to see him before the game for a couple of minutes – I really want to.

"We don't normally sing 'You'll Never Walk Alone', we really live that, and in this specific situation it was very important to show that.

"I really hope they (the Cox family) felt that the whole time and they will feel it in the future and we can help them in this recovery."

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Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool, Man City rivalry "getting bigger and bigger"

Unai Emery: 'Granit Xhaka will not be in Arsenal team at Leicester'

Granit Xhaka will once again miss out for Arsenal as Unai Emery prepares his side for a “must-win” game at Leicester.

The midfielder has been absent for the last three matches after telling supporters to “f*** off” as he was jeered after being substituted during a draw against Crystal Palace last month.

He has since been stripped of the captaincy, with the club offering counselling to a player who Emery described as “devastated, sad and very down”.

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Message to the fans;

A post shared by Granit Xhaka (@granitxhaka) on

Xhaka has yet to return to the fold, with Emery confirming he will sit out the trip to the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

Asked if the Switzerland international would be part of his squad at Leicester, Emery replied: “not yet.”

With Leicester in fine form and sitting two places and six points clear of Arsenal in the Premier League table, a visit to the East Midlands would be one of the last places Emery would want to visit.

Brendan Rodgers’ side are brimming with confidence, while Arsenal have won just two of their last nine league games and have allowed leads to slip in their last four matches.

Leicester have been in excellent form under Brendan Rodgers this season
Leicester have been in excellent form under Brendan Rodgers this season (John Walton/PA)

With Arsenal fifth in the table as they chase a return to the Champions League, pressure has begun to mount on Emery’s position and another poor showing at Leicester could do even more damage.

“Must-win? Yes,” he said.

“We need to win and it’s very important for us tomorrow.

“But our mentality is every time to play first, using our best structure and organisation to be strong and also our individual players to use their quality to win. But in our mind, for each match it is only to win.”

While a loss at Leicester and other results going against them could see Arsenal end the weekend ninth in the table, Emery insists he maintains the backing of the club’s hierarchy.

He added: “I know we are in one process and we are speaking with the club about the responsibility of the club, and they are supporting us, and the players are supporting me.”

Dani Ceballos is the only injured player after the Spain international suffered a hamstring injury in the Europa League draw in Vitoria, where Emery deployed a three-man defence for the first time this season.

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Frank Lampard to make late fitness call on Mason Mount

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard will give Mason Mount more time to prove his fitness ahead of the Crystal Palace clash but will once again be without Ross Barkley.

Despite injury problems, midfielders Mount and Barkley were on Thursday named in Gareth Southgate's England squad for Euro 2020 qualifiers against Montenegro and Kosovo.

Mount limped out of Tuesday's 4-4 Champions League draw with Ajax due to an ankle injury, while Barkley has a similar issue and has not featured since October 19.

"Ross has got an ongoing issue so he's not in the squad tomorrow," said Lampard, whose side host Palace in a lunchtime kick-off at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

"It's a conversation that I will have with Gareth (Southgate) or (England coach) Steve (Holland) with Ross to see how it pans out for him over the next 10 days. I'm not sure on that one.

Mason Mount walks off the pitch against Ajax
Mason Mount walks off the pitch against Ajax (John Walton/PA)

"With Mason, he's in the squad. We're giving him another 24 hours and we'll make a call on that one in the morning."

Chelsea had five players called up by Southgate, with Fikayo Tomori, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham joining Barkley and Mount.

Lampard is "proud" to see his youngsters receiving international recognition following fine starts to the campaign.

"Those young boys, I'm pleased that their form and their dedication has got them those call-ups," said Lampard.

"I know they're proud, I'm proud as a manager to have them in the England squad.

"I'm proud of all of the players who go away with international teams. But to see young lads getting their first steps into the team is obviously great."

Lampard has also been singled out for praise and earlier on Friday was named Premier League manager of the month for October.

The former Derby boss guided Chelsea to three successive league victories last month as part of a seven-match winning run in all competitions.

He took the opportunity to pay tribute to the club's staff and hopes his team's forthcoming results and performances are not adversely affected by a curse which is purported to follow the accolade.

"It doesn't confirm to me that I am doing a good job. Albeit it is a nice award to get on an individual basis," said Lampard.

Frank Lampard has guided Chelsea to an impressive run of form
Frank Lampard has guided Chelsea to an impressive run of form (John Walton/PA)

"It certainly is an award that relates to much more than that, about what the club is doing and the people working behind the scenes. I appreciate it and I receive it not just for myself.

"On the curse, I have heard of it. I know it and I am relatively superstitious. I was always as a player and I carry it into my management.

"So hopefully the players will go out and prove the curse wrong tomorrow because we want to carry on our momentum."

Lampard also confirmed defender Antonio Rudiger, who has made only one appearance this season, underwent surgery on a groin problem this week and could return to contention in three weeks.

"It was nice to get something definitive about it," said Lampard. "We've been trying to find a solution, Toni's been having some issues, it's not easy for a player in that position, so hopefully we are at that case now and in three weeks we're in a better place."

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