Jurgen Klopp calls for cool heads ahead of Merseyside derby

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is not a man to hold back his emotions on the touchline but he expects his players to keep their cool in his first Merseyside derby.

The cross-city encounter has had the most red cards of any among top-flight teams - 20 in the last 46 — although none in the last nine.

And while Klopp may inspire his team, and the crowd, with his arm-waving, fist-pumping actions in his technical area, he expects a more controlled approach on the pitch.

“My Merseyside derby experience will 100% not be the reason for winning or losing,” he said.

“My job is to prepare the team. Before I came to Dortmund there were a lot of red cards in derbies (against Schalke). I don’t like that showing.

“Maybe 20 fans want to see you do things like that but it will never help.

“A red card can happen if you are a second too late but not because you want to show ‘I am the man’.

“I understand aggressiveness only one way and that’s being prepared to hurt yourself and not somebody else.

“The best football is always full of emotion, passion and aggressiveness: Legal aggressiveness.

“To handle emotions and the pressure, that’s one of the big challenges in top-class football.

“We played Manchester United, I don’t know if Everton is the biggest game or United is, but we handled it really good.

“That’s what I expect from this game too — that everybody sees from the first second on that we want to win this game. But with football.”

Klopp arrived in October after predecessor Brendan Rodgers was sacked following a 1-1 draw against Everton at Goodison Park.

In the intervening six months he has immersed himself in the city and its culture and feels he has a handle on what this match means, even if he cannot always understand the local fans when they talk about it.

“My understanding of the Scouse language is still pretty difficult for me,” he added.

“Especially if somebody speaks as quickly as possibly, then I am completely out!

“But I know about derbies. It’s my first derby with the team against a team in the same city, that’s different.”

Meanwhile, Everton manager Roberto Martinez admits the Toffees face a pivotal week but not in terms of his future. The Spaniard is under increasing pressure after a number of disappointing performances, but the next few days could help alleviate that as he has a Merseyside derby at Anfield and then a Wembley FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United.

A growing number of fans are calling for his exit, with banners appearing in the last two matches and one supporter invading the pitch during Saturday’s draw at home to Southampton to remonstrate.

The next few days could well have a major bearing on whether those protests continue, but Martinez rejected suggestions his job could be on the line.

“It is a defining week for our season - I wouldn’t like to go through this season without a defining week,” he said.

“Football is about results and I will never be stupid enough to look away from that aspect.

““It is not about the manager, that is the least of my worries.”


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