Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp says it’s a good thing that Ronald Koeman isn’t playing on Sunday, but still anticipates a tough game at St Mary’s this weekend.
Klopp’s men have been in fine form of late with back-to-back Premier League wins and qualification to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League, but Klopp is wary of the trip to Southampton even if he’s glad that the manager in the other dug-out won’t be lining up on the pitch against his side.
“As a player he was completely different as he was a world-class player so please don’t compare him with myself,” Klopp joked at his pre-match press conference.
“He’s a brilliant manager too, there’s no doubt about it. He’s done a brilliant job at Southampton for so long so of course there is respect, but the best news is that I don’t have to play against Ronald Koeman – our sides will play against each other which makes absolutely more sense – and we have a better chance that way.”
Saints held Liverpool to a 1-1 draw in the early days of Klopp’s reign at Anfield, and although the German claims not to remember much about that evening, he’s looking forward to returning to St Mary’s where his side won in the Capital One Cup during December.
“There have been a lot of games in between and maybe I’m too old but I forget things like this,” he said of the 1-1 draw. “I don’t think it’s too important.
“Southampton – we went there and OK it was the perfect result and a perfect night after a bad start. It was a nice stadium and a nice grounding.
“Everything we’ll be prepared for a good football games, two good sides – Southampton is a really good side and we know about this so we have to be at one hundred per cent to get something there.
“If we want to win there then we have to be really, really good, so that’s all we have to know. We have to use these two days left until the game and we have to start again.”
Liverpool go into the game on the back of knocking out Manchester United in Europe on Thursday night, and Klopp hopes his players will be prepared for the short turnaround to Sunday’s game.
“The only thing I can say is hopefully, but I don’t know,” he said. “I can imagine what will happen of course, but nothing is older than the result of yesterday (against Man United) so we have to be prepared for the rest.
“That’s what we tried in the last few weeks and in the last few weeks it worked for us – not perfect from the results, but more than OK so we have to carry on in this way to play like this.
“We are a possession team but we are a team of intensive style and we need this. We are not a low-rhythm team, we need a high rhythm and if we can do this then of course we can get a few points. I don’t know how much will be enough so we will have to see what happens.
“In the position we are you always if you want to get up in the table have to watch what the other teams are doing and that makes not too much sense because you don’t have any influence on it, so we have to win our games as often as possible and then we have to see what happens.”