Jurgen Klopp bullish on Man City but furious at Merseyside derby timing

Premier League leaders Manchester City will not relish the prospect of facing Liverpool for a place in the Champions League semi-finals, according to Reds boss Jurgen Klopp.

But Klopp hit launched an angry attack on fixture schedulers after the Merseyside derby sandwiched between the two legs of the quarter-final was brought forward by a day.

The Premier League duo were the last pair out in yesterday’s quarter-final draw in Nyon, which also saw holders Real Madrid given a tie against Juventus, last season’s beaten finalists who knocked out Tottenham this term. Chelsea’s conquerors Barcelona were drawn to face Roma, while Sevilla’s reward for victory over Manchester United is a clash with German giants Bayern Munich.

In the Europa League, Arsenal drew CSKA Moscow, with the first leg at the Emirates Stadium.

Anfield will stage the first leg of the all-English quarter-final on April 4, with the second leg to be played on April 10 at the Etihad Stadium.

In between, Liverpool face their bitter city rivals and a new Saturday lunchtime kick-off means Klopp’s side will have just 63 hours between the first leg against City finishing and the 231st derby starting at Goodison Park in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

City, meanwhile, face Manchester United at 5.30pm the same day.

“There will be a point when I am looking forward to that game but at the moment I am already angry because I heard a second ago the Premier League will put our game against Everton at 12.30pm on the Saturday,” said the German yesterday.

“I know countries where they cancel whole match days, so teams can be in the best shape. We play Wednesday night against Manchester City and then play Everton at 12.30pm three days later.

“That means the players get up on Thursday and have lunch or breakfast and then we train and next day we are second-day recovery and then you start at 12.30pm (on Saturday).

“Can you imagine how big the difference is in these five hours? It means the world in preparation and recovery.

“We take it like it is but if I cannot be angry about something like that any more and have to be politically correct and say nothing, then I am dead because that doesn’t work. Obviously whoever made the schedule didn’t think we’d go to the quarter-finals because (the derby) was a Sunday game. Oops, it is only Liverpool.”

Liverpool and City have already played each other twice in the English top flight this season — with the Reds inflicting City’s only Premier League defeat so far.

City strolled to a 5-0 home win over Liverpool in September, Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane both scoring twice after Sadio Mane had been sent off.

Liverpool gained revenge at Anfield in January when they inflicted what so far has been the only Premier League defeat for leaders City, who were beaten 4-3 and needed two late goals to add respectability to the final scoreline.

City director of football Txiki Begiristain was in Switzerland for the draw, and afterwards admitted the tie was “a very difficult one”.

Klopp took questions on the European fixture as he spoke ahead of today’s Premier League home game against Watford. The German said: “I think it is an absolute dream draw — for all Manchester United fans. I really don’t mind. I knew it would be difficult and that is difficult. The good news is for Manchester City it will be difficult as well.

“I saw Txiki Begiristain’s face after the draw and it didn’t look like it was Christmas and Easter on the same day.”

Begiristain hinted an all-English tie had taken the shine off City’s quarter-final draw.

“We like to travel and to go to another country in the Champions League but it is what it is,” Begiristain said.

“We know each other well, they are a very offensive team, the truth is it is going to be a great couple of games and we are going to see good football.

“We are doing well in the league but is the same as always, you have to be right, in the Champions League there is no time for mistakes, everything has to work, you have to be almost perfect in both games. We know the power and the strength of Liverpool — in the league they beat us, we beat them at home.”


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