Jurgen Klopp has told his Liverpool players that they cannot focus solely on preventing Erling Haaland when Manchester City visit Anfield on Sunday because the Sky Blues have too many other ‘world-class players’.
A win for the Etihad outfit would see them go 16 points ahead of the Merseysiders and all but end the FA Cup champions’ hopes of Premier League glory, while all three points for Liverpool would see the deficit cut to 13 points and with a game in hand on Pep Guardiola’s side.
Haaland has 15 goals in nine league outings for the Citizens and the German tactician insisted that his side must prevent the Norwegian from getting the ball as much as possible whilst also being mindful of his City teammates.
“He’s probably the best striker in the world so we have to make sure he doesn’t get many balls. That’s what we will try,” Klopp said (as quoted by Manchester Evening News). “Against City the problem is if you close Haaland down with too many players you open up gaps for all the other world-class players. Doesn’t make life easier. It’s a challenge, a football problem and we try to find solutions.”
Haaland has already experienced scoring at Anfield when he netted for RB Salzburg back in 2019 in the Champions League and the Norway international will be confident of doing the same this time around.
He has hit the ground running in the Premier League since his summer arrival from Borussia Dortmund and Klopp explained that the 22-year-old is a ‘perfect fit’ for Guardiola’s side.
The German continued: “He has the combination of being pretty physical and technical. He knows where the offsides are, reads it well. So many things to make a striker, and at City has some of the best players around him setting up goals. It’s a perfect fit.
“It’s how he combines many things. His finishing is obviously exceptional but he moves really smart, that makes him quick. You can only use the speed if you use it in a smart way. you need to make sure you’re patient to not be offside. His whole package makes it special.”
Haaland is in red-hot form, but Klopp has plenty of his own stars that have been impressive recently.
Bobby Firmino has 12 goal contributions in as many games while Mo Salah netted a six-minute hat-trick from the bench against Rangers on Wednesday.
It’s going to be yet another great battle between the two sides on Sunday – let’s hope we come out on top.