Liverpool may run out a heavily changed lineup against Chelsea on Wednesday but they will be taking the League Cup seriously. And they will be taking their opponents seriously, with Chelsea looking a renewed side under new manager Maurizio Sarri.
After struggling last season, Sarri’s arrival has reinvigorated a strong group of players—a group that, as Jürgen Klopp was quick to point out today, have previously won the league—and whoever plays for them in the cup will offer Klopp’s Reds a tough test.
“What a manager he is,” was Klopp’s response when asked about Sarri at his pre-match press conference. “I’ve been a fan of him since I saw how they play at Napoli—outstanding football—and you all have seen the impact at Chelsea immediately.”
In all the talk of Liverpool and Manchester City being the two Premier League sides battling for the title this season, Chelsea have kept pace to start, and perhaps only their play last season under Antonio Conte has people looking past them at this point.
That would be a mistake, and it’s not a mistake Klopp is going to make—not in the League Cup when the two sides meet on Wednesday at Anfield and certainly not in the league on Saturday at Stamford Bridge when Liverpool and Chelsea play again.
“He has all of my respect and I don’t know why people aren’t talking about them,” Klopp added. “They are a team with experience, have won the title already, know how it works. They are a really good, really strong group. He has done a good job so far.”