Guardiola knows Manchester City in for tough test against Liverpool, says Klopp
Jurgen Klopp believes Pep Guardiola's attendance at Anfield during Liverpool's 4-1 victory over Stoke reflects the respect the Manchester City boss has for his New Year's Eve opponents.
There was a sense that Guardiola, dressed in a heavy overcoat and Breton cap, had hoped to have completed his rare scouting mission unrecognised but Klopp was aware of his presence after receiving a text message from Michael Edwards, Liverpool's recently appointed sporting director.
Pool approach Saturday evening's encounter a point ahead of City and with a goal difference of plus five after knocking four past Stoke in response to Jonathan Walters' early opener for the visitors.
"I'm not sure whether he (Guardiola) has watched a lot of games in the last few weeks of other teams in other stadiums," Klopp said. "That's the first sign it's a special game and we are already looking forward to it. It will be difficult for both teams but exciting. The best thing is, it's at Anfield. They are an outstanding side. We are not too bad. It will be a nice game."
After Adam Lallana's equaliser, Roberto Firmino fired Liverpool into the lead against Stoke. The Brazilian was charged with drink driving offences on Christmas Eve and is due to appear in court on the day Liverpool face Chelsea at Anfield next month.
Klopp did not consider dropping the player, however. "Honestly, he was the best man in training so there was no chance to leave him out, no chance," Klopp reasoned. "He trained outstandingly."
Klopp was satisfied with the manner of Liverpool's victory. An own goal by Giannelli Imbula in the second half was followed by Daniel Sturridge's first league goal since April. The England striker is now amongst Klopp's considerations for a starting berth when the Reds face his former team, City.
Primarily, though, Klopp was determined to talk about Liverpool's ability to overcome the emotional setback of Stoke's early domination.
"Confidence is not a problem at the moment but that does not mean we can show our quality all of the time," he said. "The style of the game was really difficult and we were not patient enough in our passing game. But we got there in the end."