Jürgen Klopp expecting "hard challenges" in Liverpool's derby clash with Everton

Jürgen Klopp expecting "hard challenges" in Liverpool's derby clash with Everton

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp believes the visit of Everton in the Merseyside derby on Sunday will mean an intense and fiercely-contested clash at Anfield.

Charlie Malam

Jürgen Klopp expects a hard-fought contest when his Liverpool side host Everton in the 229th Merseyside derby at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.

The Reds have not lost a Premier League home game since Sam Allardyce's last visit, a 2-1 win with Crystal Palace back in April. Big Sam also claimed a point on his visit before that with Sunderland in December 2015, having trailed 2-0 until the 82nd minute. 

The experienced Englishman has claimed two wins from two games as Toffees boss so far, lifting them into the top half of the table after a dire start to the season had them down near the relegation zone.

Everton have a renewed sense of optimism as a result of their improved form, though they have not won in any competition at Anfield since 1999 - drawing nine and losing nine of their last 18 visits.

And Klopp believes his Liverpool side are set for a stiff test, one in which they must be at their best across the pitch in order to claim a huge three points over their near neighbours.

"Reds' organisation has to be perfect"

On what he expects from the visitors, Klopp insisted Everton will have "good organisation, a clear structure, set-pieces on the highest level" and joked that Gylfi Sigurdsson "was born to deliver set-pieces." 

The German insisted that the Blues "have a lot of fights for second balls" and warned Liverpool "need to be ready for that", adding: "Everybody knows how Sam Allardyce teams play football in moments like this. [He has] all my respect, 100 per-cent."

The Reds boss insisted that it is "much more important" what Liverpool "do with" that. He acknowledged that it is "the challenge" for everyone at Anfield that they "don't expect" to play as they did "in the last 20 minutes against Spartak Moscow."

He explained that their performance late on against Spartak was "confident" and "flying", but said that Liverpool "have to start from the ground" and "from the basis again."  

Klopp believes Liverpool "have to look for challenges, find challenges and win challenges" and said that they also "have to be perfectly organised" and must "protect all the things we do in a perfect way."

He stated: "We have to be ready for hard challenges. But, from our side for sure, it should not be only hard. That's all that we know about a game like this, and then we can win the game."

Game will be as difficult for Liverpool as it will be for Everton, warns Klopp

Liverpool could not come into the contest in finer form having gone nine games in all competitions unbeaten, scoring 32 goals and keeping five clean sheets.

Their last outing saw them claim a second 7-0 win of the season in the Champions League group stages, though Klopp insists a repeat of such a high-scoring open affair is unlikely against Everton.

He challenged his side to "do the right thing in the right moment" from the starting whistle, revealing that he spoke to his players about not expecting to play as they did at 5-0 up against Spartak. 

Klopp said Liverpool "have to really work hard in the best way" and must be "patient like we were patient against Brighton in the first 20-25 minutes because there's no easy way to go through."

"We must make it as difficult as possible for Everton to win any yard on the pitch," Klopp urged, insisting they will have to do "so many things" that are "completely different to the last game."

While he noted that Liverpool had "no real idea" how Spartak might play, Klopp felt that his side "forced them" to attack "like they did" because they "had to win" the game to qualify for the next round.

And he praised his side for using that, though declared this game "will be different" because the game will be a battle "until the final whistle" and Everton's game plan will not change.

He added: "That makes it hard but I have no problem with it. I like it, that's the derby. There's no favourite in the derby. They are in a really positive run as well, they won the last three games in a row."

Klopp noted that the media will say it "will be difficult for Everton" but admitted that it will be just as hard for Liverpool, who "have the better chance" because the game is at Anfield which is what they "have to show." 

Klopp is the only manager in Liverpool's history to win all of his first three derbies after April's 3-1 Anfield win and he will hope to stretch that streak with a fourth triumph this weekend.

He said: "It's a derby at its best and I like it. So far, how I realised it, there's a lot of respect between the two clubs and I really like that. In the game, yes there's still respect but [both] teams [are] trying everything to win it. In the game, I want to see only us at our best."