Juergen Klopp said Friday that Liverpool would need everyone involved with the club to be on top form if they expect to beat Manchester City and extend their lead at the top of the English Premier League to nine points.
The reigning Premier League champions travel to Anfield on Sunday trailing Liverpool, who are undefeated in 11 games this season, by six points.
"Everyone has to be in top shape in the stadium on Sunday, even the guy selling the hotdog,'' Klopp said at a press conference. “Everyone has to be there from the warm-up and invest all our emotions."
The Reds finished an agonising one point behind City last season as they narrowly missed out on a first league title since 1990, so Sunday’s highly anticipated showdown will likely be crucial in determining which of the two frontrunners will be crowned champion at the end of the season.
Indeed, Liverpool’s only defeat last season came against City at the Etihad Stadium
“City in the last three years have been the team in the Premier League and it has always been our plan to get closer,'' Klopp said. “In the last three games we have drawn once and lost twice, but the guys are showing improvement.”
The German manager confirmed that club captain Jordan Henderson and talismanic defender Virgil Van Dijk would be fit to play having missed training this week, but the league leaders will be without Joel Matip and Xherdan Shaqiri.
Manchester City, meanwhile, have endured an indifferent start to the campaign by their own lofty standards, having already lost twice in just 11 games, both surprising defeats to promoted Norwich and struggling Wolverhampton.
They travel to their closest challengers on the back of three consecutive wins, but are unlikely to overcommit against a LIverpool team that can be deadly on the counter attack thanks to the pace of Sadio mane and Mohamed Salah up front.
"Sometimes you want to adapt to teams as good as Liverpool. Sometimes people have to recognise that we are playing the champions of Europe”, City manager Pep Guardiola said when discussing last season’s goalless draw at Anfield between the two teams. “Being defensive was not the plan”.
"They do everything well,'' he continued. “You see the team, what is the weak point? They are a real complete team."
City will be far from complete as a host of key players are missing, including David Silva, Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, Aleks Zinchenko, and Leroy Sane.
Guardiola will also be without first choice goalkeeper Ederson through injury, but dismissed any doubts surrounding the ability of Claudio Bravo.
The Chile international was shown a straight red card before he even had a chance to save a shot against Atalanta in the Champions League on Wednesday, having replaced Ederson at half time.
"Why shouldn’t I be confident about my players? I see him every day in training. We won’t lose because of Claudio”, the Catalan coach said. "The red card the other day was because we lost the ball. Respect the guy. He is a top keeper."
Ahead of the biggest game of the English league season so far, both managers urged restraint and caution among supporters, after their Champions League quarter-final tie in 2018 was marred by Liverpool fans throwing missiles at the Manchester City team bus as it approached the stadium.
"Hopefully it won't happen again,” Guardiola said, while Klopp also urged the home fans not to go too far in supporting their team.
"I am a fan of fan power in the stadium, but that is senseless,'' Klopp said.EFE-EPA