Jürgen Klopp: I would buy a ticket for Liverpool vs Manchester City, it is a very big game for both teams

Jürgen Klopp: I would buy a ticket for Liverpool vs Manchester City, it is a very big game for both teams

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp acknowledged the importance of Saturday evening's clash between Liverpool and Manchester City for both sides, declaring that he would buy a ticket for the game were he not sat in the dugout.

charlie-malam
Charlie Malam

Jürgen Klopp is anticipating an enthralling 90 minutes of football when Liverpool host Manchester City at Anfield on New Years' Eve, a game he insists is massive for both sides.

The Reds play host their Premier League title rivals in their final game of 2016 with both teams looking to avoid slipping further behind leaders Chelsea - who are already six points clear of Klopp's second-placed charges and seven ahead of City in third.

Both sides arrive into the contest as the league's first and joint-second highest goalscorers, while have become renowned for fragile back-lines that have leaked 21 and 20 goals respectively after 18 games, compared to Chelsea's mere tally of 11 conceded.

Liverpool and City's form at either ends of the pitch is expected to make for a thrilling clash, and Klopp is one such subscriber to that idea.

Klopp: I would buy a ticket for this game 

The manager said: "We should both think a little about how we protect our own attacks. Both teams are pretty good in counter-attacks, both teams are pretty good in possession, so we have to defend both at the highest level."

Klopp suggested that "the detail will make the difference" but declared he isn't worried by that and rather that it is "nice to think about and to try everything we can in the game."

He looked back to the two sides' previous encounter at Anfield back in March, insisting: "What I like is that we beat them last year. They were top of the table and we were kind of somewhere nowhere, but we could win the game."

Klopp acknowledged that City are "getting better since last year" but declared that Liverpool "are getting better too" - stating that "it will be a different game" to last year which he feels is "really excited."

"If I would not sit on the bench," he continued. "I would buy a ticket 100 per-cent for the game."

'Reds must use Anfield advantage'

And Klopp made no attempt to play down the sheer magnitude of the game from both side's perspective, 

He said that the game is "very big for both" and that, looking down the table to see "that six clubs fight for fourth or first" makes it "a really interesting position."

Klopp mentioned what he called the "midfield" with teams like "Southampton and Everton" and "then all the rest fighting to stay in the league."

As such, the Reds boss stated that "means that each game is already kind of a final" and said that, at the moment, City is "the most important game I can imagine" against "an outstanding, strong side."

"There aren't a lot of advantages before the game, the only real advantage is that it's at Anfield," Klopp said, calling upon his side to "try to use this advantage."

He said Liverpool are "obviously not in the worst shape" but said City - coming off three straight wins - "unfortunately aren't either" and claimed "that means it will be really difficult for both teams."

But Klopp vowed that he is "really looking forward to it" and "happy to have the opportunity" of "playing against the best", hailing City as being "for sure in the group of the best teams in the world" 

Aguero or no Aguero, City are an outstanding team, says Reds boss

Visitors City are boosted by the return of striker Sergio Aguero, who has now served his four-match suspension, and Klopp notes that he and his team must be wary of the Argentine's threat.

He jokingly hoped that Pep Guardiola gave Aguero "the opportunity to have three-and-a-half weeks off" and added that the 28-year-old is "a good striker" whom he "always thought" is "quite a talented boy."

Klopp said that the striker's return, alongside "a lot of other really good players" makes "life not easier" for Liverpool - but said: "We knew it before and even when he is not playing, they are an outstanding team."

He said that their plans to help stop Aguero from enjoying a fruitful return to the team must be to "avoid the easy passes and defend really well" because Aguero "can only score goals if somebody gives him the ball."

"For this we need to be concentrated," Klopp said, insisting that "the biggest challenge" for his side against City will be "to play at the highest concentration level in each second of the game."

Klopp: It's Liverpool - City, not me - Guardiola

Klopp was quizzed about his managerial rivalry with Guardiola - whom he went head-to-head with as Borussia Dortmund boss when the Spaniard was in he Bayern Munich hotseat.

Yet though the two will go head-to-head for the first time since April 2015, and now in a different country and division, Klopp dismissed that the two managers' history of facing each other will play any part when they meet on Merseyside.

"I don't play against Pep Guardiola, our teams play against each other and they are completely different to what Bayern was or Dortmund was when we played each other," he said.

Klopp insisted that Guardiola's time at Bayern, and how the German giants played, is "not important anymore" because he is at Man City "with different players, different systems."

The German went on to praise his colleague for making total football, which Johan Cruyff once started, "nearly perfect with his side at Barcelona" and spoke of his "big influence" at Bayern where their "game changed nearly completely."

Klopp insisted Guardiola is "100 per-cent" an "outstanding manager" which he feels can be seen "on the pitch" because he is "a really influential manager" with "a clear idea."

He touched upon the City manager's "fantastic career until now" as he described his "nice start at Barcelona" and his "really, really good" time at Bayern before saying: "Now he's at City and he's there to be successful, not to show how good he is. That's how we all are. We want to help our team."

With Guardiola having attracted criticism for trying to imprint his typical style-of-play, Klopp added that Barcelona's style is "not possible for each team to play" and that "it depends a lot on the players you have." 

He laughed that telling a Sunday League team to play like Barcelona would prove "pretty difficult" but added: "There's always a different way you have to choose, and you always adapt to your players. That's what he's doing and that's what we do."

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