Jurgen Klopp has insisted his Liverpool team are not seeking revenge against Everton for the tackle that has seemingly ended Virgil van Dijk’s season.
The Reds’ bid to retain their Premier League crown has been an absolute disaster, with a number of key injuries playing a part in their underwhelming title defence. The loss of Van Dijk has perhaps been felt most, owing to a dreadful scissor challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford when the two sides met back in October.
The two sides renew their rivalry on Sunday, and Klopp, speaking ahead of the game, has admitted emotions were running high in the Liverpool camp following the match, but says it will have no impact on his side’s display at Anfield on Saturday.
“A week, two, three weeks later when we got the [Van Dijk injury] diagnosis it was good that we didn’t play Everton immediately again, let me say it like this,” Klopp said, in quotes carried by the Mirror.
“We are all human beings and of course it was not nice, but now it is long gone. Nothing will be carried over. We just don’t think about that any more. But it is still a derby and that is enough to be motivated on the absolutely highest level, and trying to play the best possible football you can play. That’s it pretty much.”
In a typically full-blooded affair at Goodison Park, Everton ended the game a man down after Richarlison was dismissed for a shocking late tackle on Thiago – one that subsequently sidelined for the Spaniard for almost three months.
When asked if he believes the clash with their Merseyside rivals was a turning point in Liverpool’s season, Klopp replied: “I don’t know what I will think back when the season is over, to be honest. I hope I will think of something nicer than this. It was an important day, for sure.”
The Reds boss then went on to say that his team will be 100% focused for the game, and he doesn’t expect his team to adapt their style of play because it’s a derby.
“We play the way we play. It is very emotional, but we always are emotional,” Klopp added. “That is our way to play. What the other team does, I have no influence. Nothing to say about that. We are prepared for a football game – a derby – like we always did. Nobody can ever say this team was not ready for derbies from an attitude point of view, or from an understanding point of view.
“This team always was, and will be [ready] tomorrow. There are stories around, but I have nothing to say.”