Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has warned his side to expect a 'thunderstorm' when they meet Manchester City in Thursday's crunch Premier League clash. A win at the Etihad Stadium would provide a huge boost in confidence in terms of lifting the title - but it will not be easy. The Reds sit seven points ahead of the reigning champions and boast an undefeated top-flight campaign so far – although they were lucky not to have lost in the reverse fixture last year.
Liverpool held a healthy 3-0 first-leg lead over City the last time they visited the Etihad Stadium, in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash – a match the visitors went onto win 2-1. Klopp admits that he was well aware of the danger the hosts could cause, with Gabriel Jesus having opened the scoring after just two minutes to put the Reds under pressure.
“It was a thunderstorm,” the German said of that night in April. “They said before the game they could come back from 3-0 down and everyone knew they could – we did as well. “I think we should [prepare for another thunderstorm]. It will be a very intense game; it's unbelievable how obvious their desire is. “Last season they got 100 points and people said 'how can they do that again?'. They're ruthless, full of desire, greedy. December wasn't their month, but now it's January.”
Liverpool's Premier League title doubt continues to weigh heavy on the club's support, but Klopp believes reaching the Champions League final got rid of the 'backpack' on his side's back and helped them – along with new acquisitions – forge a stronger identity.
“We're a different team. We've improved since last year, as we had to. These boys are of a different level and quality, that's true. I trust them 100 percent. “We're all in this situation, we're all in the same mood 100%. That's the mood in which we go to City.”
As mentioned, the Reds could count themselves lucky not to have lost the reverse fixture at Anfield as Riyad Mahrez blazed his late penalty over the bar, but Klopp feels that luck is required to win titles.
“You can't go unbeaten so far if you don't have luck,” he said. “You need luck “We have had much in the years before and not much this season, but we had these moments when Mahrez missed the penalty and then there was the goal we scored against Everton. “But I would say that even then we deserved to win against Everton and we deserved the point against Man City – and that's because of the consistency in the performances so far. “The boys are completely focused. The one time you are not focused, even if you're at 99%, you will slip. You fail. That's how it is.”
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