Jürgen Klopp anticipating "real battle" ahead of first Goodison Park derby as Liverpool boss

Jürgen Klopp anticipating "real battle" ahead of first Goodison Park derby as Liverpool boss

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp is fully expecting the Reds to face a tough challenge when his side go head-to-head with Everton in the first Merseyside derby of the season at Goodison Park on Monday night.

Charlie Malam

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp is relishing the opportunity to oversee a Merseyside derby away at Everton for the first time, ahead of Monday night's "very, very, very, very big" clash at Goodison Park.

The German took charge the game after the Reds' previous trip across Stanley Park in October last term, but took charge of a 4-0 victory over Everton at Anfield back in April.

Acknowledging the stature and importance of the clash on both sides, Klopp insists his players will need to be at their best if they are to build on the convincing 3-0 win they secured away at Middlesbrough in mid-week.

Everton also come into the game off the back of a morale-boosting victory, having ended a five-game spell without a win by beating Arsenal at home on Tuesday. 

Monday night will be "a real battle", suggests Reds boss

Speaking to reporters at his pre-match press conference, Klopp noted that the game is "very, very, very, very big" and said that "the good thing" is he doesn't need to say too much about the size of the fixture because "everybody knows what it is."

"For me it's pretty special because it's my first time at Goodison Park," the German said, insisting that he is "really looking forward" to the occasion which comes at a "very important period or moment in the season" for two teams who are "in a good mood."

He revealed that he and his Liverpool players watched Everton's win earlier in the week from their hotel and could "see the atmosphere there was good", adding: "We were quite excited about the game so it was intense, good to see."

Looking ahead to the challenge he expects the Blues to pose on home soil, he said the game will "be a real battle" and that it will be "two good teams against each other" and he is "looking forward to it."

Due to the nature of the game, Klopp feels he won't need to say anything in particular to his players to motivate them, vowing that rather it is "all about saying the right things in the right moment."

He said that while there will be more Everton fans in the stadium, Liverpool's job will be "to keep them as quiet as possible" as he joked: "Football is not the most important thing in the world, but on Monday night, I'd say for 90 minutes in and outside of Liverpool it is. So let's do our best."

Klopp "looking forward" to first taste of away derby

Klopp was asked to reflect on what the rivalry, and the derby, means personally to him - having now been on Merseyside for 14 months - but declared that he has no particular grudge against Everton.

He insisted that his opinion isn't "too important" and said it is "really easy" to "accept the importance of the game" as a "part of Liverpool Football Club."

The Reds boss insisted he "cannot say Everton is my enemy since I was five years old" but said he enjoys "how Liverpool, the city, lives with these two big clubs."

He said how he has "never had any issue" with Everton fans, but noted how it is "the game" for Liverpool and stressed how his players "have to respect this." 

"I'm quite good at adapting to these situations and I'm already in the mood, a really positive mood, because I'm really looking forward to it," Klopp continued.

The boss did however note that his understanding of the rivalry, and also the unity, between each clubs has grown over the last year.

He declared that he hasn't "watched a lot of these games in the last few years" but insisted he was aware "about the big rivalry between the clubs" and of "the big years of both clubs" when "first and second of the league came from Liverpool."

Klopp said that he loves "the history" and is a "big fan of football history" and spoke about how Liverpool and Everton "have a lot of big things" in their past.

But he added: "In the end, both clubs showed their real character when they reacted to [the] Hillsborough [disaster]. I have to say this is the best story I've ever heard in football. I love it. In these moments, you really forget that you're rivals. Everything is good. Then you can really fight in the game for three points."

While Klopp says he respects "the desire of Everton", he declared that his side "want to win the game too" and insisted: "We don't make a big difference between where we want to win. Goodison Park; good place, never been there, looking forward to it."

Boro display a really important marker, insists Klopp

Liverpool's win at the Riverside Stadium on Wednesday night was their first win in three after setbacks against Bournemouth and West Ham United, and Klopp says he never had doubts over his team's quality.

He said that he didn't "think about it [their recent disappointments] too much" despite admitting they "knew" they "had to change a few things after those two games."

Klopp declared himself "really happy" with Liverpool's reaction, "especially in the second-half", and praised the squad for giving themselves "a really good base" from "the performance side" as well as "the points side."

He said that the players trust themselves "on a normal day" that they "are in a pretty good shape" but added: "When you put in aggressiveness, desire, the final movitation and all that stuff - it makes a real performance. I'm not in doubt about our quality, not for a second."

Yet he acknowledged that they "will need everything of our potential and quality" in order "to get anything at Goodison Park", suggesting the 90 minutes "will be interesting" which is "how football should be."