Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp went on a blockbuster rant about Man City ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash between the two clubs at Anfield.
The Reds demolished Rangers 7-1 midweek in the UEFA Champions League, but come into the fixture off a 3-2 defeat in their last league game against Arsenal. The result has Liverpool sitting 11th in the Premier League standings, with a title charge being effectively thrown out the window as they sit 14 points off top spot.
Klopp’s side have the task of keeping Man City, particularly Erling Haaland, quiet this weekend. The Norwegian goal-scoring machine has set the league alight since his arrival in the summer, netting an astounding 15 goals in 9 PL appearances. Oddly enough, only newly-promoted Bournemouth have stopped Haaland from scoring, although City still ran out 4-0 winners in that fixture.
When questioned how he planned to stop Haaland at Anfield, Jürgen Klopp began another memorable rant, this time stating that ‘no one can compete with Man City.’
“You will not like the answer, and you all have the answer already. Nobody can compete with City,” he said during his press conference ahead of the game.
“You have the best team in the world and you put in the best striker on the market, no matter what it costs, you just do it. I know City will not like it, nobody will like it. You’ve asked the question but you know the answer.”
After voicing his disapproval at the current inequality in football, Klopp’s rant continued as he accused Man City and a few other clubs of being able to ‘do what they want’ given the vast reserves of their oil-rich owners.
“What does Liverpool do? We cannot act like them. It is not possible. Not possible. It is just clear and again you know the answer. There are three clubs in world football who can do what they want financially. It’s legal and everything, fine, but they can do what they want. They will say ‘yeah but we have…’ but it’s exactly the fact.
“I heard now that at Newcastle somebody (sporting director Dan Ashworth) said ‘there is no ceiling for this club’. Yes! He is right. He is absolutely right. There is no ceiling for Newcastle. Congratulations, but other clubs have ceilings.”
Klopp has become synonymous with these sort of rants, especially when under pressure. Despite the midweek result in Scotland, Liverpool are still in dire need of points in the league, but tasks don’t come much tougher than Pep Guardiola’s side.
City are currently 2nd in the Premier League but remain the only side still unbeaten. The Citizens have by far the division’s best attack, netting 33 goals in the opening 9 games, 10 goals more than second-best Arsenal.
Despite City’s ruthlessness in front of goal this season, they were held to a goalless draw in midweek to FC Copenhagen in the Champions League. However, key marksman Haaland was rested in Denmark ahead of the weekend’s trip to Anfield.
Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk, who still remarkably hasn’t lost a single league game at Anfield for the Reds since he joined in January 2018, was also asked how he plans to stop the former Borussia Dortmund striker.
“It’s definitely not easy – he’s been on fire, you can’t say anything else,” Van Dijk said to TV2 in Norway. “I remember after the Community Shield where a lot of people have been writing him off, I remember I was saying, ‘listen, this guy is going to cause so many defenders nightmares’. He’s shown it, he’s been showing a consistent level and obviously in a team like City where chances will always come.
“We have to try to stop the balls going to him, defend at the highest level, and be at our best, and that’s what we always have to be against City and that’s not going to be any different on Sunday. It’s something we should look forward to, it’s definitely not me against him, it’s all of us versus all of them. It’s the outside world that creates battles, one versus one and all this stuff. We want to stop them scoring, regardless of who it is on the pitch. But we know he’s quite good.”
After a shaky start to the season, Van Dijk will need to be on top form if he’s to keep his unbeaten Anfield league record going.
Liverpool 1 – 3 Man City
If ever there was a game for Van Dijk’s record to end, it’s this one. Liverpool look indifferent in the Premier League, only winning 2 of their opening 8 games. Furthermore, their issues in defence have been evident for all to see, although they may have some respite in that regard against City with Trent Alexander-Arnold being out with an injury.
City on the other hand look as if they’re just getting out of second gear. Guardiola’s side are excellent in transition, which is where they will need to exploit their opponents on Sunday, similarly to what Arsenal did to them last weekend.
With Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne in top form, as well as an improvement in performances from Jack Grealish, the Liverpool defence may be in for a long day.