Jurgen Klopp questioned Liverpool’s favourites tag and warned that his side will have to be at their very best to overcome Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup.
Last season’s Champions League winners take on domestic rivals Chelsea, holders of the Europa League, in Istanbul on Wednesday with silverware on the line.
Liverpool kicked off their Premier League campaign with a 4-1 win over Norwich City at Anfield, while Chelsea suffered a 4-0 loss to Manchester United in Frank Lampard’s first game in charge.
Despite the contrasting opening weekend results, Klopp is expecting a tough test against Lampard’s men.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 13, 2019
“They have a clear way of playing,” he told Liverpool’s official website. “It’s a football-playing side, it’s flexible, they have different formations and stuff like this and I like what I saw to be honest, but yes, they lost 4-0 – that’s then a really hard lesson.
“United was pretty clinical and that’s how football can be, but of course we don’t have lesser respect because they lost 4-0 against Man United. No, it’s the other way around – especially in the first 60 minutes they were just really good.
“They are a good football team and we use three games and try to make the right conclusion of that and do the right things in the game.
“Everybody will be ready for their first title. They will be 100 per cent ready and we have to be, too. But we have to ignore what everybody says about us before the game.”
Liverpool had a disrupted pre-season due to a number of key players being granted extra leave for international commitments, with Senegal forward Sadio Mane only linking up with the squad last week.
But Klopp is happy with his side’s fitness levels after brushing aside Norwich last Friday, five days on from losing on penalties to Manchester City in the Community Shield following a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes.
Speaking at Tuesday’s pre-match media conference, the German coach said: “It was a difficult pre-season, so you never know how we will play in the first game. But I was really happy with the performance against City.
4 – Liverpool are the first team to score 4+ first half goals on MD1 of a Premier League season since August 2006, when Man Utd netted four against Fulham. Ruthless. pic.twitter.com/tVIhk8wXht
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 9, 2019
“The important thing was the second half – it was a sign that we are nearly ready. Physically we are there now, we are where we want to be. We’re not 100 per cent but all the clubs are the same.
“Tomorrow night, everything is different. We have to prepare for a final, make a few decisions about the line-ups. It can be unpredictable for the opponent because we don’t know how they play.”
Victory for Liverpool over Tottenham in June’s Champions League final softened the blow of missing out on a first Premier League title.
The Reds finished one point below Manchester City and have been tipped to challenge at the top again this time around, but Klopp was unwilling to prioritise one competition over the other.
“Unfortunately, I’m not good enough to decide that,” he said. “I have to take what I can get.
“Last year we won the Champions League and didn’t win the Premier League. We only try to win the next football game, and that’s tomorrow night.
“I’m not a genius, so I take what I can get, but I cannot decide.”