At Friday morning’s pre-Everton presser, Jürgen Klopp was peppered with questions about Liverpool’s ability to move on from the defeat to Paris Saint-Germain and best the Toffees at Anfield on Sunday. The manager continually stressed the reality of the situation for him and his team – Everton is a different kettle of fish to PSG, a completely different challenge all together to the Ligue 1 side, and there will be no hangover from the loss in Paris.
Klopp began to show his frustration at the end of the questioning when asked to address what a journalist described as a midfield that had lacked control, creativity and been overrun at times this season.
“We’ve conceded five goals and you say our midfield is overrun? Sorry, I don’t see that,” said Klopp.
“Yeah, we could have scored more goals. No, I don’t see any problems.”
Jordan Henderson’s absence through suspension was brought up more than once. The captain received a red card after a second yellow against Watford last weekend so Klopp has had a week of knowing he’d be without Henderson on Sunday.
Henderson’s leadership role and experience in the derby are viewed as heavy losses to some for the weekend. But Klopp was adamant that Henderson’s unavailability is a non-issue for him ahead of the match.
The manager has options in midfield. Naby Keita played against PSG and should be available. Fabinho has been performing better and better since playing more regularly. James Milner, Gini Wijnaldum and Xherdan Shaqiri will be standing up to be selected as well. But the implication from one journalist in particular was that the new boys may not be ready for the blood and thunder derby.
“We’ve had the whole week together,” Klopp said. “They talk to each other, they know about it.
The follow-up question: “But is talking enough to ready them?”
“I really don’t get a lot of your questions today,” responded Klopp. “Maybe you are not happy with my answers but I don’t understand it. Are they ready? We will see.
“If I would say now, ‘I don’t have enough time to make them ready for a derby,’ what kind of idiot would I be?”
Jürgen was clearly irritated by the derby anxiety in the room. But it wasn’t helped by reporters looking for headlines and copy.
Liverpool are unbeaten in the Premier League, in second place behind a marauding Manchester City. The loss to PSG hurt but the Reds will be back at Anfield on Sunday, at nearly full-strength, and will not be cowed by their last defeat.