Liverpool aim to give top four ‘hell’

Manager Jurgen Klopp is confident Liverpool can bridge the gap to the Premier League’s big-spenders and promised to give their top-four rivals “hell” this season.

This evening’s visit of champions Leicester, who won the title on a budget considerably smaller than some of the so-called bigger clubs, will also mark the first use of the new Main Stand at Anfield which has increased capacity to 54,000.

While that has helped reduce the deficit with the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City — who all had bigger net spends in the summer transfer window — off the pitch, Klopp admits what really matters is what happens on the field of play.

“We are the only people that can change our circumstances, nobody else will do it for you,” he said.

“You can say ‘But they have this, they have that’ — it is useless. We will work with what we have. We have to do more from our side. We want to go to the best teams in the world and give them hell in the moment we face them — in Manchester, in London, wherever I don’t care. This is football.

“If there is one part of life where you can challenge the best in the world, then it’s football. It depends on our attitude. If always the people with the best circumstances would win, this world would be an ugly place.

“We all have the chance to fight for everything. It’s not about having a guarantee, it’s about having the opportunity.

“And now, looking at this (the new stand), it’s even better. On a day like this, we shouldn’t think someone has more than us, but only how much we have to use.”

Klopp made a number of changes in the summer, bringing in seven new signings to strengthen the squad and club chairman Tom Werner believes the German —who was handed a new six-year contract in the summer after just nine months in charge — will deliver.

“Well I’m optimistic. I think that the squad is very strong. Obviously there’s a lot of competition in the league but I’m excited about it. This is Jurgen’s first full year and we’re extremely optimistic about the future.

“It’s all about winning on the pitch and hopefully this (stand) will contribute to that.”

Klopp has called for the extra 8,500 fans in the new stand to help boost the atmosphere and his team.

Midfielder Emre Can and defender Ragnar Klavan will not be fit for the visit of the Premier League champions. The Germany international injured an ankle in the EFL Cup win over Burton on August 23 and will not be ready while Estonia centre-back Klavan reported back from international duty with a gashed and bruised knee.

But new mdfielder Marko Grujic has no doubts he has the ability to make the step up to the level required from a Liverpool player despite just 12 minutes of action so far.

The 20-year-old agreed a £5.1m transfer in January but he was loaned back to Red Star Belgrade for the rest of the campaign, helping them win the Serbian SuperLiga title.

He put in some impressive Grujic has been included in all three of Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League squads so far and the backing of his manager has helped convince the Serbia international he can bridge the gulf in standard between the football he has been used to and the world’s most competitive league.

“He told me I’m a very talented player and I just need to work to improve myself,” he said. “Pre-season went very well but that’s just pre-season and now I need to adapt fully to the Premier League.”

Meanwhile, Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has warned his title winners he is prepared to drop them.

The Foxes chief is even ready to leave out last season’s 24-goal top scorer Jamie Vardy if the striker fails to perform in the wake of Islam Slimani’s record £28m arrival.

The Premier League champions go to Liverpool with Ranieri happy to include Slimani despite the striker having only linked up with his new club on Friday after he joined from Sporting Lisbon.

Ranieri also refused to rule out dropping last season’s stars Danny Drinkwater, Riyad Mahrez, and Kasper Schmeichel who helped win the title by 10 points.

He said: “There is not a hierarchy — it’s not (a case that) somebody who played last season is assured to play this season. I watch every training session, I watch every match and if someone I see is better, then I’ll change.

"Nobody is sure of their shirt to play at the beginning. Everybody has to stay at the highest level and when I see them down I have a player to replace them.”


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