Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will get his first taste of what a trip to Goodison Park is like when the Reds square off with cross-town rivals Everton on Monday. The German manager has already tasted victory in the Merseyside Derby with his side running out comfortable winners at Anfield last April, but the short jaunt across Stanley Park is an entirely different kettle of fish — something he’s looking forward to finding out first hand.
“I don’t think that’s too important. I’m part of Liverpool Football Club so it’s really easy for me to accept the importance of the game,” explained Klopp when asked what the derby meant to him. “I cannot say Everton is my enemy since I was five years old, it’s not like this, but how I said a few times before, I like how Liverpool lives with this, the city, lives with these two big clubs,” explained the Reds manager. “I’m quite good at adapting to these situations and I’m already in the mood, a really positive mood, because I’m really looking forward to it,” he said with a smile. “That’s the game you want to have, how I said a few times – football is not the most important thing in the world, but on Monday night I’d say for 90 minutes in and around Liverpool, probably it is. So let’s do our best.”
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The visitors will be in a buoyant mood after putting a disappointing run of games behind them with an extremely satisfying win over Middlesbrough on Wednesday, but Everton will be up for this one as well. While Liverpool were on Teeside tearing their hosts a new one, the Toffees were at home teaching Arsenal that if you go to Goodison, you better bring your A-Game.
“Two, three days before the Middlesbrough game we spoke about conceding goals here, only drawing there, losing at Bournemouth, drawing at Southampton, which was a clean sheet too,” explained Klopp, talking about the Reds struggles in defense. “Of course we knew we had to change a few things after those two games and I was really happy with the reaction of the boys, especially in the second half, and we have a really good base. Not from the points side, although that’s not bad too, but more from the performance side,” continued the German manager, looking ahead to the Derby. “So I’m not in doubt about our quality, not for a second, but I know we will need everything of our potential and quality to get anything at Goodison Park. It will be interesting, that’s how football should be.”