LONDON – Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool have a “different” mentality this season as the Reds aim to maintain their blistering start against West Ham on Sunday in the English Premier League.
West Ham United is one of the Premier League’s strongest teams, Liverpool manager Klopp said, as he urged his side to be at their very best against last season’s Europa Conference League winners.
West Ham, who sold key midfielder Declan Rice in the close season, will travel to Anfield Sunday having started the season in fine form, winning three out of five matches to sit sixth in the standings on 10 points.
Liverpool is three points ahead in third, but Klopp warned his side not to be complacent against the team managed by veteran boss David Moyes.
“There are so many extremely strong opponents, West Ham is one of them,” Klopp told a press conference.
“I’m happy for David (Moyes) that he really built this team now over a few years. Even with Declan Rice out, they look really good.
“With all the other guys they had already, it looks really solid and that makes it really tricky. It means for us we have to be the best version of ourselves,” he added.
The German also clarified his comments on kickoff times, saying the earlier ones were not ideal for achieving peak performance.
“It’s not a problem to play Thursday to Sunday. It would be better if we played a bit later, but people misunderstand when you talk about 12:30pm (on a Saturday),” he said according to Reuters.
“It’s only two-and-a-half hours before the 3pm games, that’s true, but it’s completely different when you have a pre-match meal at 9am.”
Klopp had expressed his frustration last week after being handed an early fixture against Wolverhampton Wanderers following the international break.
“You can’t get the guys up at five o’clock in the morning to be 100% ready for the game. All these things are very difficult,” he added.
Liverpool, who was 3-1 winners of LASK in the Europa League Thursday, will have Virgil van Dijk back in defence in the league after the Dutchman missed the last two domestic games through suspension.
Sharpen up for goals, Pochettino urges Chelsea players
Chelsea is doing everything you would expect from a top-four team except finding the back of the net, manager Mauricio Pochettino said.
Despite spending more than any other club in Europe in the close season, Chelsea is 14th in the Premier League with five points from five games having scored only five goals.
Pochettino said he was not frustrated as the London club has 12 players sidelined with injury but that they probably deserved more points.
“We need to be more clinical in front of goal and convert chances into goals. That is the most important thing,” Pochettino told reporters ahead of Sunday’s home game against Aston Villa.
“In all the data we are in the top four. But in front of goal, we are in the bottom and that is why we don’t have the points that we deserve. Football is about winning games.
“I am disappointed because I think many teams with less score more. That is why we feel bad, the players deserve more. The only way to find what we want is to keep pushing, keep playing.”
Chelsea did not qualify to play in any European competition this season and Pochettino said that had given the squad time to recover.
“It has been good to recover players from the international break. The circumstances have given us time to work and we’ve had a really good week,” he said.
“It’s a time that, of course, for the fans is difficult because they are used to being in Europe but we need to take advantage of the situation.”
Pochettino said record signing Moises Caicedo is training after returning from a knee injury while Marc Cucurella has recovered from a fever.
He also said Chelsea’s 22-year-old forward Armando Broja has fully recovered from an anterior cruciate ligament surgery and could be involved over the weekend.
“It’s after nine months of not competing, we cannot put responsibility on him,” the Argentine boss said.
“The responsibility must be on the team and the collective effort. We cannot expect Broja will score with every single touch, he needs time.”