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Applause all round: Jurgen Klopp believes Arsenal rival Unai Emery has gone under the radar

Applause all round: Jurgen Klopp believes Arsenal rival Unai Emery has gone under the radar

PA

Applause all round: Jurgen Klopp believes Arsenal rival Unai Emery has gone under the radar

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp faces Unai Emery for the first time since losing the 2016 Europa League final, claiming the Spaniard is a better coach than people give him credit for.

Klopp insists that night in Basel, when Sevilla came from behind having been dominated for 45 minutes to win 3-1, has been consigned to history.

He believes Emery has won enough in his career - three successive Europa League titles and five major trophies at Paris St Germain - to warrant the respect his current 13-match unbeaten run deserves.

"All people in football know how good he is but I am not sure all Arsenal fans were over the moon at first when they heard it would be Emery (who was to replace Arsene Wenger)," said Klopp.

"But that's England a little bit, you want the poster boys. Unai was in France and before that in Spain at a smaller club, so you can go a bit under the radar."

Klopp dismissed the suggestion, however, that Emery produced a tactical masterclass to get the better of his side in their Europa League final encounter.

"You're giving managers a bit too much credit if you think we have that much influence. He couldn't defend against us in the first half, we had to help by missing our chances," he added.

"We had a big influence on that game. It was a question of momentum; they had it, we lost it. We had it in the wrong half of the game I would say. We didn't score often enough.

"We couldn't fight back in the 63rd game of the season, there was not a lot of fuel left in the tank. They won, we lost, that's already history."

Klopp's record against Arsenal since arriving in England is impressive. He has never lost against the Gunners, with three wins and two draws having produced 27 goals.

The fixture has a history of high scores with the last nine Premier League matches bringing 42 goals.

"It doesn't look like that will change. They score a lot of goals and are really good offensively," said Klopp. "We have to see how it will develop. It doesn't have to, we saw that in the Manchester City game (a goalless draw), but it is possible."

Klopp will still be without midfielders Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita, who are not likely to be in contention for a recall until next weekend.

For his part, Emery wants to help Arsenal "write a new history" as the Gunners look to address their poor form against their top-six rivals.

Last season Arsenal took just six points against other teams from the traditional top six.

Two draws with Chelsea, a 3-3 draw at home to Liverpool and victory over neighbours Tottenham was all Wenger's side could muster.

Compare that to champions Man City, who picked up 24 points from 30 on offer against Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham.

The difficulties stretch even further back with Arsenal taking 26 points from those fixtures since the start of the 2015-16 campaign - 18 fewer than the next team in Chelsea.

"We want to write a new history," he said. "The new history is in the present and also, with our players, our quality and our capacity, I believe in my players and this project.

"We are starting this project in a very positive way with what we are doing. We also need to improve things but each match they are giving us a lot of information for improvement and development and I trust in my players.

"We are looking forward to playing against a team like Liverpool. We are excited because our supporters are going to help us in our home.

"I think it's a very difficult game, very difficult team, but for us it's about success against them with our quality, our performance and also our respect.

"The result is very important but first I want to show them, to show you and to show everybody our best mentality in the game.

"If we have a very big mentality in the game and a very big performance individually and collectively - and also we need some luck - then I think we can win."

Belfast Telegraph