“They’re a good football team, that’s why they won the Champions League. We are a good football team. Now let’s play the game,” Klopp said.
“We want to be successful as well. We’re quite ambitious. Is it possible for us (to win the title)? I don’t know. Nobody knows. We will give it a proper try.”
City have added Jack Grealish for £100m and Chelsea have paid £97.5million for striker Romelu Lukaku, while United have agreed a deal to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo having spent £73m on Jadon Sancho.
Klopp said: “We know that this league – not only since this transfer window, which is not even finished yet – is the strongest league in the world.
“I think nobody doubts that. Being ambitious in this league means you have to be ready to get some knocks and get punished here and there.
“You just have to get up and go again and with the quality we have, if we can do that then the only plan was always that we are able to beat the best teams in the world.
“We never thought about being the best team in the world. Obviously at this moment, nobody thinks we are.
Klopp said he had huge admiration for fellow countryman Tuchel and the speed with which he has transformed Chelsea since replacing Frank Lampard in January.
“What he did at Chelsea is exceptional,” Klopp added. “I was never in doubt he would have a massive impact.
“Not even he would have expected it to happen that quickly. He won the UEFA coach of the year and really deserved it.
“The combination of financial wealth and football knowledge is always a threat for us. What they are doing is really good. Thomas is an exceptional manager and coach.”
[unable to retrieve full-text content]Follow live and interactive coverage of Liverpool's Premier League clash with Chelsea at Anfield in our Match Centre.
Jürgen Klopp has underlined the important role that can be played by everyone involved in Liverpool's pursuit of success this season.
The Reds welcome Chelsea to Anfield this evening having kicked off the Premier League campaign with back-to-back wins and clean sheets against Norwich City and Burnley.
Klopp’s team were, of course, supported by a full-again Anfield against the Clarets last weekend and will be once more as they face Thomas Tuchel’s Champions League winners.
And in his column for the official matchday programme, the Liverpool boss explains the crucial contributions on the terraces and within his squad that can be key in 2021-22.
“We have played two matches so far and there have been important learnings from both,” writes Klopp. “I don’t for one second think we are even close to perfect at this stage, but frankly it would be odd if we were.
“There were things I liked in both games, things I didn’t, things I think we did well and things I think we can do better. That is pretty normal and I’m sure Chelsea will have felt the same with their fixtures.
“What I really liked in both games is that the players immediately recognised the importance the entire squad has to play this campaign if we are to stand any chance at all of being successful. The levels in training from those who haven’t appeared as frequently on the teamsheet yet have been just as high as those who have. This is critically important.
“At the time of writing this I genuinely don’t know what combination we will go with, but I have total confidence that whoever is selected will be ready. Also, I know that all 20 names who are involved today, in whatever capacity, will have a role to play.
“Every contribution is as important as the next. We must have this collective approach, not just for each game but every day we are together.
“Of course the supporters are also key to this collective effort and I don’t think there is any need for a rousing team-talk for Anfield today. We have spoken a lot about the importance of focusing the energy in a positive way on us and leaving behind any ignorant, prejudicial chants.
“But Anfield has probably never been more important to us than it is right now.
“Honestly, for the Burnley game the explosive roar when the first whistle went will live with me for the rest of my life. It was a noise full of emotion, belief and anticipation. I am getting goosebumps thinking about it again now. And not just that. The way the fans celebrated us winning the ball back and players sprinting to close spaces. The way each and every player was treated like it was the team’s star person.
“This is where our support can be the difference. It’s a support that is smart and savvy and recognises how and when it can play its part.
“When you face an opponent like the one we do today there will be periods, for sure, where we are under pressure. To have a crowd who have your back in those moments, rather than be on your back, is so valuable.
“I say all this in the knowledge that the responsibility starts and ends with us, though. The team. Players and management. It’s for us to inspire you and it’s for us to make sure your energy is focused on a group of people whose minimum requirement is to give all they have from the first whistle until the last.
“I am super-excited for this opportunity today and I hope we can do ourselves and our supporters justice with the performance we produce. And that’s really all you can ever hope for and certainly all you can ever promise.”
It presents an entirely different challenge and it’s an advantage that the Reds will look to harness to continue their perfect start to the season.
It amounts to 29 games, 38 goals, of which one was an own goal and does not count in this quiz, and 24 individual goalscorers – and your task is to name them all!You have 4 minutes to name all 24 players! Want more quizzes? Try these!
Jordan Henderson has urged everyone connected with Liverpool at Anfield this evening to ‘bring their A-game’.
During his notes for the official matchday programme, the captain reflects on how special it was to be backed by a capacity crowd again during last week’s win over Burnley.
And he also calls on all who ‘bleed Liverpool red’ to perform at the peak of their powers when Chelsea visit L4 for Saturday’s teatime kick-off.
Henderson writes: “After going almost 18 months without playing in front of a capacity crowd at Anfield, today we will play in front of a full house for the second time in a week. I can safely say that I speak for all of the lads when I say we really can’t wait.
“Last weekend was something special, it really was. From the moment we stepped out for the warm-up we could feel the buzz and it lifted all of us. I hadn’t really expected the atmosphere to build until closer to kick-off, but 40 minutes out the stadium was already bouncing and it ensured every single one of us couldn’t wait for the game to get started.
“I’m not so one-eyed that I can’t see that fans make a positive impact at other clubs, but at Liverpool it genuinely feels like our support is on another level entirely.
“When I speak to former players they always have stories to tell about how the supporters created an atmosphere that inspired them and sometimes intimidated opponents. It is exactly the same for the current generation.
“I can tell you, in the days and weeks leading up to the Burnley game, we as players were talking about the return of supporters to Anfield. We had a taste of it in the two friendlies with Athletic Club and Osasuna and, of course, for the players involved in those respective games, that gave us all a lift and whetted the appetite for last Saturday.
“On a personal level I know what it means to have my name sung by the fans - and it has a huge impact on myself and my family. It makes me feel like I’ve earned something very privileged and, in return, it reinforces my desire to give something back to those supporters.
“I’m immensely proud to captain this very special and unique football club, but our relationship with the fans gives it that something extra because, at its purest, football is about the relationship between players and supporters and the way that each drives the other on.
“Feeling that support against Burnley was massive and it really did make a difference. At times, we may actually have got a bit too excited by it because it had been so long since we played in front of so many passionate Liverpudlians.
“At the start of the game it was hard to hear ourselves think, never mind pick up whatever instructions we were shouting to one another, but that is exactly the way we want it to be. That’s how we want Anfield to be every time.
“The manager said afterwards his favourite moment was the roar that greeted kick-off and when I heard that, I knew exactly what he meant and why he said it. We missed such moments so much in the last year-and-a-half.
“I’ve no doubt that today will be exactly the same. Chelsea are never anything other than a top-class opponent and they arrive at Anfield as European champions, so it goes without saying that everyone who bleeds Liverpool red will need to bring their A-game.
“Thankfully, if there is a venue in world football that is made for days like this, it is Anfield so we will embrace the challenge armed with the knowledge of what we can achieve when players and supporters are together.”
Salah is two goals short of reaching 100 in the top flight of England with 96 of those for Liverpool.
Twenty-nine players have previously reached a century of goals in the Premier League era.
Mane is two goals shy of registering 100 for Liverpool in all competitions and if he reaches the century he will become the 18th Reds player in history to achieve the feat.
Jurgen Klopp has faced Thomas Tuchel 15 times in his managerial career, winning nine with three defeats.
Back in May, he became the third different German manager to win the Champions League in the last 3 seasons, following Klopp in 2019 and Hansi Flick in 2020.First-goal Diogo
Diogo Jota has scored Liverpool’s opening goal of a game on seven occasions while in a further two matches he has netted the winning goal, plus the only goal and the winning goal at former club Wolves in a 1-0 win.
Jota could be the first Liverpool player since Mane in 2017/18 to score in the opening three league games of a campaign.Lukaku’s back
Romelu Lukaku has five goals against Liverpool in 17 career appearances, scoring once at Anfield while on loan at West Bromwich Albion in February 2013.
He has scored 114 Premier League goals and is 20th on the competition’s all-time list.
The Reds could keep a clean sheet in each of their opening three league games of a season for only the ninth time in their history and for the fourth time in the last nine seasons.
However, Chelsea have failed to score in only one of their last 10 league visits.The referee
Liverpool: Jota 2, Firmino 1, Mane 1, Salah 1
Chelsea: Alonso 1, Chalobah 1, James 1, Lukaku 1, Pulisic 1, Ziyech 1
* Stats courtesy of LFC statistician Ged Rea (@ged0407).
It is an overcast Saturday morning on Merseyside. Liverpool are about to play Burnley in a 12.30pm kick-off. Anfield is welcoming back its first capacity crowd since March 2020. Fans begin to fill the streets surrounding the stadium. The match-day excitement is building.
On the corner of Sunbury Road, though, the mood is one of sadness and celebration.
Sara Williams, the sister of Kevin Williams, has arrived with her family.
Kevin was one of the 97 Liverpool fans who lost their lives as a result of the Hillsborough tragedy.
Sara is about to be interviewed by actress Maxine Peake, who portrays Sara’s late mother Anne Williams in an ITV drama due for release in the coming months, for a documentary about Anne’s fight for justice in the aftermath of that disaster in 1989.
Before Peake arrives, Sara has time to embrace an old friend, Tony O’Keefe. There are tears as the pair share a long hug beneath a new mural painted by artist Paul Curtis. It is in memory of and dedicated to Anne, who pursued justice for her son for 24 years until her death in 2013 at the age of 62.
O’Keefe is a Liverpool fan who was at Hillsborough and, as a trained firefighter, his initial response was to help those in need. One of those people was Kevin. O’Keefe has been in close contact with the Williams family since around 1994, when an appeal for the fans who had helped carry the 15-year-old across the pitch on a stretcher was posted by Anne in the Liverpool Echo newspaper.
“It looked like me, so I thought, ‘I better give this woman a call’,” O’Keefe tells The Athletic. “I said, ‘I think I might be one of the guys in the picture’. She said, ‘I have got a coloured photograph’ and then explained every bit of clothing, even the trainers I was wearing.
Jürgen Klopp discussed Chelsea's tactical set-up and more during the second part of his pre-match press conference.
Liverpool face Thomas Tuchel's side at Anfield on Saturday evening, with both teams boasting a 100 per cent start to the 2021-22 Premier League campaign.
Read on as Klopp previewed the exciting encounter in a chat with reporters on Friday...
On whether Chelsea set up differently now after signing Romelu Lukaku...
Of course. Maybe the closest was when Giroud played up front but still then very different, but it's closer than when Werner played up front for Chelsea. Of course Romelu is a fixed point, so you can find him maybe on the wing in moments but it's not that he will be there the majority of the time. He really wants to keep the centre-halves in the centre, have these challenges, wants to have body contact, all these kind of things. Then you have this wild running and really skilled boys around in Mason Mount, probably Havertz – I'm not sure, they have obviously a lot of other options. Then you have the wing-backs, which most of the time, if not always, they use Reece James and Chilwell or Alonso on the left side. Two very, very good midfielders – is it Kante or Jorginho, or Kovacic and Jorginho, or whoever? So, that's the thing you can expect.
But, of course, if Romelu is playing then there's a different kind of player. If you let them cross, each ball in the box is immediately a major problem probably – how it was with Giroud as well. Romelu, when you saw the last game against Arsenal, the two goals they scored, one was a Reece James cross to him and you could see how Arsenal tried to defend it and how he got rid of the centre-half and then came in the box for a pretty easy goal. The other goal which Reece scored was then because the formation of Arsenal was really central, so he was completely free on the run inside the 18-yard box already. It's really not that easy because they are impressive in these kind of things. How it always is in football, if you don't want to have the problems there, you should avoid the passes to that area. That's what we obviously will try but if the ball is there, you have to defend it anyway.
On it being too simplistic to view it as Virgil van Dijk's job to stop Lukaku...
What Thomas Tuchel did there is really good. So it means that the way they build up, the way they play, it's a clear structure but very flexible. They have most of the time the wing-backs, or cover with the wing-backs, in the half spaces, like this double 10, double six, very flexible players. And now a proper target player up front. I think last year people very often spoke about that Chelsea played really well but didn't finish the situations off often enough, and it was obviously the idea behind the signing of Romelu, so smart business. But in the end the good thing about football is there is no football you cannot defend at all. It's more tricky, it's more difficult. Against us it's not too easy to defend, to be honest, but unfortunately possible as well. So, these are the different aspects.
Of course you can make whichever headline you want to write about Romelu and Virgil – he will show up around the other centre-half as well, I guess, and players! If you are only focused on Romelu, Kai and Mason will punish you. So that's the situation. It's a good football team, that's why they won the Champions League. We are a good football team and now let's play the game. You can imagine that we had enough time to train, to talk about it. Obviously today is another meeting with the boys [and] we can show them exactly – what we did already yesterday actually in training and the day before – what we want to do to cause them problems, because we should not ignore that fact that it's possible as well.
On Arsene Wenger's visit to the AXA Training Centre earlier this week...
Good, very good. I knew him before but he's a very nice guy, impressive person. But he was here as a FIFA representative, and we had time together but it was more that he showed me the things that FIFA wants to do, structure-wise, in the future. They wanted to know my opinion. There was no real time on top of that that I didn't write any questions down to ask him. I never did that, to be honest, not only with him, because I'm a big believer in you have to find your own way to deal with the specific problems over a day. We had a good laugh as well about similar problems he had to the problems I have now – he's not overly disappointed about not having these problems anymore. It was just a nice talk. How I said, he wanted to know my opinion about the FIFA plans.
On whether Liverpool will be facing a different Chelsea team confidence-wise after they won the Champions League last season...
I hope not but it's possible, of course. Last night they got pretty much all the prizes, right? They got most of the prizes, and that never harms the confidence, let me say it like that. What can I say? We meet them twice. Hopefully we can win tomorrow, which is difficult enough. Hopefully we can win when we face them again. All the other games we have nothing to do with, so it means if they win all of them then even [if] we win the two it probably wouldn't be enough, let me say it like this. But it helps, being successful helps. So you want to have more, I'm sure.
Actually, to be 100 per cent honest, we want to be successful as well. We are quite ambitious. Is it possible for us? I don't know, nobody knows. We will give it a proper try. We know that this league, not only since this transfer window which is not even finished yet, is the strongest league in the world, and I think nobody doubts that. Being ambitious in this league means you have to be ready to get some knocks, to get some punches here and there. We just have to get up again and go again. And with the quality we have, if we can do that then, again, the only plan was that we were always able to beat the best teams in the world, whoever that is. We never thought about being the best team in the world. Obviously in this moment nobody thinks we are the best team in the world – good – but we still want to try to beat the best teams, and Chelsea won the Champions League so there's not a lot of tournaments that are more important. So, let's give it a try.
The 2019 winners were drawn in Group B on Thursday, alongside Atletico Madrid, FC Porto and AC Milan, meaning trips to Spain, Portugal and Italy for Jurgen Klopp‘s side this autumn.
The campaign kicks off at Anfield, with Italian side AC Milan visiting the home of the Reds for the first-ever time.
A trip to Porto awaits in matchday two, before back-to-back ties vs. Atletico.
The final two group games see Porto visit Anfield in late November, then the final group game at the iconic San Siro stadium in Milan.
Here’s who the Reds face before and after each Champions League tie:Matchday 1: AC MILAN (H) September 15
Before: Leeds (A) Sun 12 Sept
After: Palace (H) Sat 18 Sept
Before: Brighton (H) Sat 30 Oct
After: West Ham (A) TBC 5/6 Nov
Before: Wolves (A) TBC 4/5 Dec
After: Villa (H) TBC 11/12 Dec
This season, teams competing in the Champions League on a Wednesday evening will not be scheduled for the early Saturday lunchtime kick-off for the following weekend, something Klopp has been highly critical of in the past.
At this point, whether away fans will be allowed has not been confirmed either way by UEFA, but visiting fans were not permitted during the qualifying games this summer.
Liverpool fans will be particularly keen to visit the San Siro since the iconic stadium is planned to be demolished, a project that is currently on hold in Milan. Hopefully, restrictions allow.
Jurgen Klopp‘s side were drawn against Atletico Madrid, Porto and AC Milan in Group B in Thursday evening’s draw.
Milan, opponents in both the 2005 and 2007 finals, will visit the Reds in their first game of the tournament on September 15.
The qualifying stages did not allow for travelling supporters, but a final decision on away fans for the group stage has yet to be confirmed.
The first matchday will sit between the league meetings with Leeds and Crystal Palace, with the second following a fortnight later.
The Reds travel to Porto on matchday two, before back-to-back ties against Atletico.
The final two matchdays see Porto at Anfield, before finishing the group in the iconic San Siro in December.Group Stage Dates
Matchday 1: AC Milan (H), September 15, 8pm
Matchday 2: Porto (A), September 28, 8pm
Matchday 3: Atletico Madrid (A), October 19, 8pm
Matchday 4: Atletico Madrid (H), November 3, 8pm
Matchday 5: Porto (H), November 24, 8pm
Matchday 6: AC Milan (A), December 7, 8pm
Liverpool's fixture schedule for the group stage of the 2021-22 Champions League has now been confirmed.
The Reds kick off their Group B campaign at home to AC Milan before travelling to FC Porto.
Back-to-back meetings with Atletico Madrid will then be followed by a home encounter with Porto.
Jürgen Klopp’s side will conclude the section with a trip to AC Milan in early December.
Liverpool’s Champions League Group B fixture list (All kick-off times are 8pm UK)
Sadio Mane is two goals away from reaching the milestone of scoring 100 for Liverpool.
Should he net a brace against Chelsea at Anfield on Saturday evening, the No.10 would become just the 18th Red ever to achieve the feat.
For more facts and figures ahead of the meeting with Thomas Tuchel's side, read on...
Mohamed Salah is two goals short of reaching 100 in the Premier League, with 96 of those for Liverpool. A total of 29 players have previously reached a century of goals in the Premier League era.
Should Joe Gomez begin the game, it will be his 100th start for the club in all competitions.
Diogo Jota could be the first Liverpool player since Mane in 2017-18 to score in the opening three league games of a campaign.
Jota has scored Liverpool's opening goal of a game on seven occasions, while in a further two matches he has netted the winning goal.
A victory for Liverpool would be their 350th at Anfield in the Premier League era.
The Reds are two goals short of reaching 650 in all competitions under Jürgen Klopp.
Trent Alexander-Arnold has scored more goals against Chelsea (two) than any other team.