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Jurgen Klopp embraces Merseyside derby physicality – but “don’t go over the top”

Jurgen Klopp is all for the intensity and aggressiveness that football and a derby entails, but he is not eager to see the line crossed with both teams left with plenty to fight for.

Liverpool host Everton on Sunday with the Reds firmly in the title hunt while the Blues look to avoid relegation – meaning emotion will be high for the derby.

The latter is nothing new and Klopp loves and appreciates the intensity, just not when it crosses a line and is played outside of the rule book.

Liverpool know all too well how costly it can be when tackles and challenges are taken a step too far, one only needs to look at Virgil van Dijk and Thiago at Goodison Park in 2020.

“This derby has never lacked intensity. I love intensity in football, I love physicality in football but just in the rulebook and make sure we all stick to that,” Klopp said.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 17, 2020: Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara is treated for an injury by physio Chris Morgan during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 237th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Don’t go over the top, these kinds of things like the ‘good old times’. We suffered from these situations and I just want to have a very intense, physical and legally aggressive football game.

“But not more because we play games after the derby, all of us.

“Apart from that it’s always very intense and this one is very important for both, but I can’t remember when it wasn’t important for us, it was always.”

The stakes are as high as they’ve been heading into a Merseyside derby, with Liverpool potentially heading into the game four points behind Man City following their game against Watford a day earlier.

Everton, meanwhile, could be in the relegation places by kickoff if Burnley were to beat Wolves in the hours before Sunday’s game.

And there’s a real possibility that this could be the last Premier League derby for at least one season and Klopp, who has won eight of his 15 games against Everton, would certainly miss the occasion.

“Of course, we are used to two clubs in the city and around the derby, it’s always special,” he said.

“Usually the full week before you play, all the things people are talking about is the derby.

“So yes, of course, I would [miss it].”

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