Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has admitted the attack on Manchester City’s bus interrupted his side’s preparations for last Wednesday night’s Champions League quarter-final first leg tie at Anfield, which the Reds won 3-0.
“It is so strange, because you go with your own bus through the crowd and it feels fantastic, it is passion,” the German said.
“Then, you come into the stadium and the first thing I heard is they smashed the bus of Man City and it kills everything in that moment for us.
“Because of a few idiots it will maybe never happen again. It changed everything.”
City’s bus was pelted with missiles — including bottles, cans and fireworks — as it turned onto Anfield Road from Arkles Lane near the stadium prior to the game. Significant damage included smashed front windows. City needed a replacement bus for their journey home.
City’s new bus later stopped for 25 minutes on the way back from Anfield to treat a road accident victim, with manager Pep Guardiola, coaching staff and players on board. Klopp praised the gesture as “an outstanding thing to do”.
The German has a raft of injury worries ahead of today’s Merseyside derby and won’t risk the Premier League’s leading scorer Mohamed Salah, with Danny Ings likely to get a first start under Klopp.
“I cannot make Mo available [just] because it is the derby. I would never do that, it is not possible. You cannot push a player through a game. I don’t think any of our supporters would want us to do that. If he is a doubt, he will not be involved. That is how it is. That is how it is with all of them: If they are not 100% fit, they cannot be involved.
“But I would not rest a player with absolutely nothing, because we are used to playing every three days, that’s not the problem.”
Everton boss Sam Allardyce knows the fixture calendar and the Champions League distraction has presented Everton with what could be a golden opportunity to end their long winless run in the derby. It is more than seven years and 16 matches since the blue half of the city was able to celebrate victory over their closest rivals, with Liverpool winning four of the last five encounters.
“I think it’s an advantage we could possibly take,” said Allardyce. “If we had to play Liverpool in a derby match, it’s a good time to do that, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.”
Allardyce was impressed by Liverpool’s performance against City, who convincingly beat Everton last weekend, and is hoping his side can adopt similar tactics in their favour at Goodison Park.
“If I have to say my players, ‘we’ve got to do to Liverpool what Liverpool did to Man City, tomorrow’, that would be the plan,” he said. “We want to be as big as them one day, but we are not quite there yet, but we can show what we’re all about tomorrow to try to bring a happy weekend for the Evertonian fans.
“Anything can happen in derby matches, but nothing has happened too positively in terms of any victories. We were very pleased we got a draw at Anfield. Really, the approach has to be, like it was then, about us getting better at nullifying their attacking options, because the goalscoring ability of Liverpool is their main strength and we have to snuff that out. The players can do it if they really believe it.”
Today: Goodison Park, 12.30pm
Referee: Michael Oliver
TV: Sky Sports
Bet: Everton 3/1, Liverpool 5/6, Draw 13/5
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