(Reuters) - Liverpool will need all their fighting qualities to overcome the “best team in the world” Manchester City in Thursday’s blockbuster Premier League meeting between the two, manager Juergen Klopp said on Wednesday.
Shortly after City manager Pep Guardiola described table-toppers Liverpool as Europe’s best team in his news conference, Klopp returned the compliment with interest and said City could not be taken lightly despite a dip in form.
Defeats by Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Leicester City last month have left Guardiola’s side in third place with 47 points, seven points behind unbeaten Liverpool and one behind fellow title contenders Tottenham Hotspur.
“We have to be brave, we have to be full of desire, angry again, all that stuff – like in all the other games – but with the knowledge that the opponent is still the best team in the world,” Klopp told a news conference.
“I said it weeks ago because it’s 100 percent my opinion; the way they play and all the things they have achieved and the things they will achieve. Nothing has changed, only the points changed, but not the preparation for the game.
“And we are a very, very, very good football team as well. That’s why we have the amount of points, that’s why we had the results, that’s clear. But we prepare for one game.”
James Milner missed Liverpool’s last two games due to a hamstring injury but the midfielder is in contention to feature against his former side.
“He was back in training with us yesterday for the first time, so we will see,” Klopp said.
“His influence on the team is massive... experience is always important if you know how to use it.”
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge