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Klopp: I've never faced a stronger Everton

 

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Wise head: Jurgen Klopp admits he is wary of Everton and their boss Marco Silva

Wise head: Jurgen Klopp admits he is wary of Everton and their boss Marco Silva

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Wise head: Jurgen Klopp admits he is wary of Everton and their boss Marco Silva

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp accepts Everton pose their biggest threat in the Merseyside derby for some time and the Reds' 19-year unbeaten Anfield record counts for nothing.

The Toffees have not tasted victory across Stanley Park since Kevin Campbell's solitary strike in September 1999 but Klopp feels Marco Silva - who has won one and drawn one against his German counterpart as boss of Hull and Watford - has the squad and the style to pose a realistic threat.

And no amount of history - Liverpool have not lost a derby for a record 17 matches - will alter that.

"If you didn't say that I wouldn't even think about it. How can I know what people make of that? I'm not a bit interested," he said. "You cannot make anything with these results in the past. It is good that we won these games or got results, the most exciting one was the late winner of Sadio (Mane) at Everton - that felt unbelievable.

"We have to make sure as a club we create an atmosphere so exceptional it will make it easier for the players to come into it 100% in a fighting mood."

The last three Everton managers to visit Anfield in the Premier League - Roberto Martinez, Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce - left with, respectively, a 4-0 defeat, a 3-1 defeat and a 1-1 draw.

However, significant investment and a change in playing style introduced by Silva have seen the Toffees move up to sixth in the table, their best league position for some time, and that has caught Klopp's attention.

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"He has the best squad. They brought in players he wanted. Richarlison, what a player he is, last year (Theo) Walcott came in, this year Bernard came in, (Andre) Gomes, (Yerry) Mina.

"Since I am in (at Liverpool) Everton were always really busy but now it's the best-tuned squad. One or two years ago (Wayne) Rooney came back, (Gylfi) Sigurdsson came, they said they could not play because of a lack of speed, but everything is there.

"Analyse Everton and tell me it will be an easy game, tell me their weaknesses: they defend really well, have good players in all positions.

"It will not be the easiest game in the world but no one expects that in a derby and we shouldn't do that this time so we will not."

Klopp will be without suspended captain Jordan Henderson for the game, and has challenged the rest of the squad to step up in his absence.

"Are they ready? We will see. We have to prove it," he said. "If I were to say now, 'We have a real problem, I don't have enough time to make them ready for a derby' what kind of idiot would I be?"

Meanwhile, Everton manager Silva has told his players to ignore history and focus on building for the future tomorrow.

The Toffees have not won at Anfield since 1999, but Silva is not interested in dwelling on statistics he cannot change.

"It's a fact, but I can say to (the players) that these type of records, they exist to break," he said when reminded of Everton's results against their neighbours.

"For us the most important thing is the present, and the future. The past is the past, we can do nothing to change the past but we can work well in our present to make a good future."

Silva said tomorrow's clash would be a 'special match' but cautioned against over-hyping the occasion.

"I don't want our players to think, 'This is the match'," he said. "It's not the last match of the season. I want them to play the match to win. For sure, it will be a really tough, tough match.

"But it is one more match. I want them to have a big motivation. We are here to build something, to prepare our club and players to compete in every match, and not just on one day where you can have a good day."

There have certainly been plenty of positive signs Silva is on the right track of late, and it is easy to see why he is eager to ensure derby hype does nothing to derail their recent momentum.

"What I want to see is for us to be ourselves, nothing different to what we did in the big games we already played until now," he said. "I'm sure this is what our fans what to see, for us to be ourselves, to fight to achieve a result. It's a special game for them but our fans want us to be the same team."


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