Jurgen Klopp admits he feared Everton would become Liverpool’s ‘next proper challenger in line’ when Carlo Ancelotti took over and hails ‘perfect business’ of rivals ahead of derby
- Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool take on Everton in Merseyside derby on Saturday
- Toffees unbeaten in Premier League and at the top of the Premier League table
- Klopp admits he thought they could challenge when Carlo Ancelotti took over
The Toffees are flying high atop the Premier League table ahead of Saturday’s early kick-off, the biggest Merseyside derby in years.
And Klopp is not surprised by the success of his side’s fierce rivals after they conducted ‘perfect business’ in the summer.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp leads his side against Everton in the derby on Saturday
He believes that the Toffees can be proper title challengers and they are top of the table
‘What I think about Carlo Ancelloti was never a secret. I couldn’t respect him more. He’s a wonderful human being,’ the German told BBC Football Focus.
‘When I heard he was going to sign for Everton I thought “Uhhh, the next proper challenger in line”.
‘They did the perfect business in the summer. They found exactly the players that they needed to improve an already pretty good football team.
‘Together, getting more used to what Carlo wants them to do makes them a pretty strong team.’
The sensational form of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has scored nine goals already for Everton this season, is a key component but the whole picture is looking rosier at Goodison, says Klopp.
Klopp said he feared Everton would grow in strength under Carlo Ancelotti’s stewardship
He added: ‘Calvert-Lewin, I really expected him to make big steps in the next few years and he did.
‘And now it all works together – both wings have top-class players with James and Richarlison. Midfield, Allan plus whoever plays there, if it’s Sigurddson or whoever.
‘So it’s a really, really good team and the last line works better because in a good team it’s easier to defend. That’s what you see when you watch Everton, so it will be a really interesting game.’
Everton last won a Merseyside derby exactly a decade ago on Saturday back in 2010.
The likes of James Rodriguez (centre) and Abdoulaye Doucoure (right) signed for the club
Many feel this is their best chance to end that barren run, particularly with Liverpool coming off the back of the remarkable 7-2 defeat by Aston Villa before the international break.
Klopp revealed he sent a long text to his players in the wake of that bruising loss to get his feelings and frustrations off his chest as he was unable to address the group as a collective.
He has never lost back-to-back Premier League games as Liverpool manager and will be desperate to maintain that record this weekend.
If Everton are to become ‘proper challengers’ then they will have to close an almighty gap from last season.
They finished in 12th place and a massive 40 points behind champions Liverpool.