They say football is a funny game but we believe the competition draws are funnier. Of all the other European teams, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool got Manchester City to face in the quarter-final of the UEFA Champions League. Let’s just put it down this way; as many as eight Spanish teams qualified for the round yet all of them got different clubs to face, while the Reds somehow got stuck with the Citizens. Hence, there will only be one English team left in the competition in the semi-final.
But in all fairness, this isn’t seeming like a one-sided affair despite Guardiola’s men running riot, not just in England but across Europe. Liverpool will welcome the Premier League leaders in the first leg of the round at Anfield on April 4th and it will be an intense clash. Speaking of this highly-anticipated fixture, Jurgen Klopp played a safe card by saying that despite all the arguments with Guardiola in the past, he respects him.
The UEFA Champions League remains the only viable trophy Liverpool could get their hands on this season and if they somehow manage to bottle it up, it will represent the longest spell for us without winning silverware since the 1950s. Just in, Liverpool’s last major honour came way back in 2012. While as things stand for City, they are just two wins away from lifting the Premier League title for the third time in seven years.
But if the head-to-head records of these high-profile managers are taken under the consideration, it is Klopp who comes on top. The German and the Catalan have locked horns on 12 occasions in the past and the former has emerged victorious six times while the latter has won five. Their rivalry started from their Bundesliga days and the tradition is being followed in England as well. Talking numbers, no manager, who has managed more than 10 matches against Guardiola, has a better record than Klopp.
Speaking about the fixture, Klopp was quoted by Independent as saying,
“During a game, he is always 100 percent in, I am 100 percent in,” Klopp said, ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Watford.
“So far we have never had an argument at the sideline or stuff like that. I don’t know why that is but I respect him of course.
“I am not too interested if that will stay but my respect will not change and I have no idea what he thinks about me.
“From my point of view, I have respect, I think that is normal when you see his teams playing and the work he did in the last few years if you are a football manager then you think, ‘oh not too bad.’
“We don’t know each other really well so it is not like the relationship I have with David Wagner. That is a friendship and it is not like that. We cannot lose anything.”
As far as Klopp’s record against City is concerned, it is again Klopp who emerges victorious. During his Borussia Dortmund’s days, the German faced City twice in the Champions League and while the first game ended in a 1-1 affair, his men went on to win the next round at home by 1-0. This is how Klopp’s result against soon-to-be Premier League champions stand:
Manchester City 1-1 Borussia Dortmund (Champions League, October 2012)
Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Manchester City (Champions League, December 2012)
Manchester City 1-4 Liverpool (Premier League, November 2015)
Liverpool 1-1 Manchester City (City win 4-2 on pens, League Cup final, February 2016)
Liverpool 3-0 Manchester City (Premier League, March 2016)
Liverpool 1-0 Manchester City (Premier League, December 2016)
Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool (Premier League, March 2017)
Manchester City 5-0 Liverpool (Premier League, September 2017)
Liverpool 4-3 Manchester City (Premier League, January 2018)
Adding fuel to the already electric tie, Klopp went on to say that Manchester City didn’t want Liverpool in the tie simply because their record against the Reds is poor.
“They didn’t want us,” Klopp added. “We all know about that. Our record is not too bad against City.
“Yes it was a close game here and stuff like that. We are not the team they love to play constantly let me say it like this.
“The good thing is we know more about Manchester City than we could know about any other team we could have faced.
“Although we are not like City in the situation of being already kind of champion, we have to fight for this top-four spot until the end of the season. That’s our situation, it’s no problem. When the games are coming in the Champions League then we think about it and not before or after.”
Jurgen Klopp also admitted that he still is in touch with one of his former Dortmund player Ilkay Gundogan who now plies his trade with Manchester City. The two worked together at Borussia Dortmund and Klopp revealed that as soon as the draw was announced, Gundogan texted Klopp and he replied him back just by saying, ‘see ya’.
“Ilkay said in German ‘bis bald’ and I wrote back ‘see ya’. The message came immediately. Bis bald pretty much means, ‘see you soon’ and I used a scouse phrase ‘see ya’.
Liverpool injury update: Jurgen Klopp provides the latest on injured Reds stars including Keita
Manager Jurgen Klopp has provided the latest team news ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Huddersfield Town. (Liverpool Echo)
Summer signing Naby Keita suffered a hamstring injury while on duty for his national team whereas Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Virgil Van Dijk suffered setbacks too.
The Reds will check on the fitness of the latter three but Klopp confirmed that Keita is out for this game. When asked if he had a fitness update, Klopp responded by saying (h/t Liverpool Echo),
“Not really. We had a session yesterday and a few of the boys trained, so we’ll have to see how they’ve reacted after that.
“The only thing that is pretty sure is that Naby will not be available; with all the rest we have to see how it develops. That’s it, pretty much.”
Speaking about Virgil van Dijk, the gaffer added that there were no long-term concerns regarding the player’s fitness. The Dutchman featured in the Netherlands’ 3-0 win vs Germany but returned home after the game as a precautionary measure, missing the following game against Belgium.
“You saw when he went off – everybody saw when he went off – in the home game against Southampton, Virg would not leave the pitch without any major problems.
“It settled pretty quickly. Football players have to play very often with some kind of pain, that’s how it is. What it is exactly is not too important.
“It’s all good, he has no problems with that anymore.”
We’ll have to wait to see if the injured players recover in time to make it to the starting XI against Huddersfield Town.
Despite a drop in form, we are level on points with league leaders Man City and a win against the Terriers would help us maintain the pressure at the top.
Salah and Mane out? – Predicted 4-3-3 Liverpool line-up to face Huddersfield Town
Predicted Liverpool line-up to face Huddersfield in the Premier League
Liverpool take on a struggling Huddersfield Town in the Premier League on Saturday. While the Terriers are one of the three teams who are yet to win in the Premier League this season, Liverpool are tied level on points with league leaders, Manchester City.
The Reds are unbeaten in the league but the international break hasn’t been great. Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane all picked up injuries and Jurgen Klopp might mix things up.
Liverpool drew against Manchester City last time around and it will be interesting to see how the Reds fare in this game.
Probable Liverpool XI
Manager: Jurgen Klopp
The Brazilian is our first-choice goalkeeper and will start the game against the Terriers on Saturday.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB)
Alexander-Arnold was part of the England side during the recent international break and should be up for the clash against Huddersfield.
Virgil van Dijk (CB)
Van Dijk is a sure starter for the Reds at the back. He has completely transformed our team’s dynamics and is crucial to our success.
Joe Gomez (CB)
Gomez was excellent for England against Spain and should look to carry that form for Liverpool on Saturday.
Andy Robertson (LB)
The Scottish captain is one of the best left-backs in the league and must start for the Reds.
James Milner (CM)
Milner picked up an injury prior to the international break but should be fit for this game.
Jordan Henderson (CM)
The captain should start the game for the Reds given that Naby Keita is out injured.
Georginio Wijnaldum (CM)
Wijnaldum scored a great goal against Germany recently and has been excellent for Liverpool so far.
Xherdan Shaqiri (RW)
Salah’s minor problem could give Shaqiri a chance to shine. The Swiss star hasn’t started many games for us, but this is the perfect tie to play him.
Roberto Firmino (ST)
The Brazilian isn’t getting as many goals as he would have liked, but he is an important player for the team and should start on Saturday.
Daniel Sturridge (LW)
With Mane a doubt, Klopp can opt to play Daniel Sturridge on the left wing.
Reputed journalist claims Liverpool attacker will leave in January – £20m price tag set
James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo reports that Divock Origi could leave Anfield in the winter window. The Belgian was linked with a move away in the summer but remained at the club.
Wolverhampton Wanderers could make a move for the Belgian striker. The club were willing to spend £22million plus add-ons in the summer but Origi wasn’t willing to move to Molineux, as per the report.
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) October 18, 2018
The report adds that Everton are also interested in the 23-year-old but they have not made any official contact with Liverpool.
Borussia Dortmund were also interested in the striker (h/t Liverpool Echo) but wanted to sign him on a loan in the summer.
Origi is not getting a lot of game time this season as Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge are being preferred by Jurgen Klopp.
The Belgian needs to move out and truth be told, he hasn’t been the same since a horrible tackle by Ramiro Funes Mori in a Merseyside derby in Klopp’s first season in charge.
Origi could fetch us some decent money and hopefully, he gets the right move away from the club to reignite his career elsewhere.
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