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Monday 29 May 2017

Klopp prepares reds for Aguero

City striker's return concerns Liverpool boss ahead of Anfield clash

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is braced for tomorrow evening’s clash with Manchester City at Anfield. Pic: Reuters
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is braced for tomorrow evening’s clash with Manchester City at Anfield. Pic: Reuters

Manager Jurgen Klopp has urged Liverpool to concentrate on isolating returning Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero when the teams meet at Anfield in the Premier League tomorrow evening.

Aguero is back after a four-match ban for violent conduct for third-placed City, who travel to second-placed Liverpool in search of their first Premier League win at Anfield since May 2003.

"What can I say? He's back," Klopp said. "Good striker. I have never made a secret of it. That makes life not easier for us - but we knew it before.

"He can only score goals if somebody gives him the ball. We have to avoid easy passes. We can defend really good. So we need to be concentrated. That's the biggest challenge in this game."

Klopp's men are undefeated at home this season and the German is hoping that playing at their historic stadium will hand them the upper hand.

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero returns from a four-game ban which he received for this tackle on David Luiz. Pic: PA
Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero returns from a four-game ban which he received for this tackle on David Luiz. Pic: PA

"This is a very big game for both," he added. "Six clubs fight for four or one positions. Each game is kind of a final.

"City have the highest quality in the team and highest quality on the bench.

"The advantage is that it's at Anfield. We must try to use this. It will be really difficult for both teams. I'm really looking forward to it. We love playing against the best."

City boss Pep Guardiola is regarded as modern football's greatest innovator but Klopp's results against him have been as good as anyone's with four victories - albeit three in cup competitions - in eight meetings during their time in the Bundesliga.

Klopp insists recent history counts for nothing but accepts that in Guardiola, City have a man of huge influence.

"We know everything about how Pep played with Bayern but that is not important any more because it is different players and different systems," said the Liverpool manager, whose record against City since arriving last season is two resounding league wins and a League Cup final defeat on penalties. "We are a different team so at this moment both sides cannot be sure which idea the other team has," he said.

"It is not that we have a look back at the last few games against Pep Guardiola because our teams don't play each other.

"In Holland it was Johan Cruyff and Total Football. He (Guardiola) was very nearly perfect with Barcelona, he had a big influence with Bayern and changed their style completely.

Style

"He is an outstanding manager 100 per cent. I am not interested too much in giving things a name but you can see on the pitch he is an influential manager. He has a clear idea and a pretty much good idea. He has had a fantastic career until now.

"He had a nice style with Barcelona and was really good with Bayern and now he is at City and he is there to be successful and not to show how good he is.

"That is how we all are. We want to help our team.

"He is very influential but the Barcelona style is not possible for each team to play. It depends a lot on the players you have.

"If a Sunday morning team tried to play like Barcelona it would be pretty difficult.

"You always adapt to your players and that is what he is doing and it is what we do."

Neither Philippe Coutinho nor Joel Matip (both ankle injuries) will be available for the match, which is expected to be an entertaining game with Liverpool the Premier League's highest scorers and City joint-second.

"If I didn't sit on the bench I would buy a ticket for this game, 100 per cent," added Klopp.

Coutinho, one of Liverpool's chief attacking threats, has not featured since injuring an ankle against Sunderland at the end of November and Klopp said it was unlikely he would be back for the reverse fixture at the Stadium of Light on January 2.

The manager also shot down speculation that Liverpool were interested in signing Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, describing media reports that the club were contemplating a January bid as "nonsense".

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