Jurgen Klopp has demanded “the best 12.30pm atmosphere ever” as Liverpool host Watford on Saturday, with the stakes clear for all to see against the relegation-threatened side.
Here are five key points from the manager ahead of Watford‘s visit:
Trent is BACK, Naby a doubt
It’s the best news we could have hoped for, with Trent Alexander-Arnold to return to full training on Friday having picked up his recovery in the last few days.
There are still question marks over whether he will feature against Watford but if not, the trip to Benfica looks set to herald his return.
“Trent trained yesterday parts and will be in full training today and we have to see what we do with it,” he said before adding, “tight for tomorrow, but possible.”
It leaves only Naby Keita as the sole absentee from the senior squad, with Klopp confirming he couldn’t train on Thursday and is yet to hear further on his availability due to a knee complaint.
Klopp’s Anfield demands!
It’s an early Saturday kickoff and it’s set to be a cold one against a relegation-threatened Watford, but Klopp has sent a clear message ahead of kickoff.
Sing and shout, otherwise stay home.
“What we need for this game is the best 12.30pm atmosphere ever,” he urged.
“Not nervous, not whatever, not like this tense you cannot breathe.
“If you cannot shout and sing or whatever, stay at home and give your ticket to somebody else, please. Really, we need you with all we have.”
With what’s on the line, there should be no need for added motivation.
5 sub delight
The Premier League clubs reached an agreement on Thursday that the five sub rule would be introduced into the top-flight from 2022/23, with Klopp’s pleas finally being answered.
The manager has long spoken passionately on the topic and was delighted as the right step was taken.
“It’s great news. Top news for football, top news for the players. We spoke a lot about it and the situation is that we all know that it will not get less with games.
“Nobody will step aside, no competition and no country.”
The change will allow for nine substitutes to be named in the matchday squad with five changes made over three intervals, plus half-time – much like the Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup.
The two sides of Mo and Mane qualifier
It was an emotionally taxing international break for Mo Salah and Saido Mane, with one feeling euphoria after inflicting heartbreak on the other.
It again shone a light on the juxtaposition of football, with one team able to freely celebrate as the other were left with heartache and Klopp echoed those thoughts.
“Obviously really happy for Sadio, that he could make it. But disappointed and feel for Mo,” Klopp said.
“I don’t the situation around the penalty and the laser was particularly cool, I feel for him but I am happy for Sadio as well. That’s football.
“We are used to this. It’s different when two mates in such a big game play against each other, but they are both top professionals. I’m sure both will deal with it in the right way.”
Coaching at 74, no chance!
Roy Hodgson returns to Anfield once more, only this time with Watford and at 74 he is still going strong – but don’t expect Klopp to be following suit.
“I don’t know why Roy did it, to be honest,” Klopp said with a laugh.
“But he’s still on fire, he still organises the team really well. It will be a joy to see him again, I already said goodbye to him!
“I will not [be managing at 74], definitely not!”
So 73 then, Jurgen…we’ll take it!