Liverpool: Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp is relishing the return of a packed Anfield for tomorrow’s lunchtime Premier League clash with Burnley but wants the fans to be on their best behaviour.
Not since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 has Liverpool’s famous stadium been packed to the rafters, but with restrictions lifted The Kop roar will return tomorrow.
“Everyone is looking forward to it. You can imagine when you sign for LFC, one of the first things you want is that first game at Anfield,” Klopp told a news conference.
“So for everyone for us it was a special moment. They are looking forward to it. When you sit on the Kop or the Yellow Wall (at Klopp’s former club Borussia Dortmund) you are there just for football. If they get on their toes the whole stadium will follow, so I cannot wait to feel the connection with the fans again. We’re blessed with a really good crowd here.”
Klopp was critical of some Liverpool fans this week after offensive chants aimed at Norwich City midfielder Billy Gilmour in last week’s opening 3-0 victory at Carrow Road.
The German said in a statement on Thursday that he does not want to hear the song anymore and he spoke again of his displeasure at the chants towards Chelsea loanee Gilmour.
“I don’t feel proud about it, I think it was the right thing to do (speak out),” Klopp said. “If the response was great... job done. It was an important thing to talk about.”
Liverpool were impressive against Norwich with key defender Virgil van Dijk back after missing most of last season with a knee injury.
The Dutchman’s absence was a major factor in Liverpool’s struggles last term, and his solid return to action did not surprise Klopp at all.
“I wasn’t impressed in a surprised way. He had a four-and-a-half-week pre-season. With rehab stuff it was the longest pre-season of all time,” Klopp said.
“He played like he trained. Virgil is a good footballer, so delighted to have him back.” Liverpool could have midfielders Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara back in the squad for the clash with Burnley after they were not involved against Norwich, having returned to pre-season training later than many of their team mates.
“They are much closer, yes. They look fine, now we have to make the decision,” Klopp said.
Despite losing against Brighton in their season-opener, Sean Dyche’s side travel to Anfield with some confidence, having ended their hosts’ 68-game unbeaten home run last January.
“I don’t think our win there last time will make us more optimistic, we caught them at a very good time and we played very well,” said coach Sean Dyche. “Last season they had some injuries, lost Van Dijk who is a Rolls Royce player, and we maybe caught them at a slower period and earned the right to win a game.”
Man City vs Norwich City
Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is a doubt because of a shoulder injury sustained against Tottenham on the opening weekend and could miss the clash with Norwich City. Kevin de Bruyne is expected to return to the starting line-up, while Phil Foden remains the only long-term absentee.
Norwich head coach Daniel Farke has no fresh injury concerns and might name the same side that faced Liverpool. They are on an 11-game Premier League losing streak, a run only topped by Sunderland’s 20 consecutive defeats between 2003 and 2005.
Leeds vs Everton
Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips is expected to start against Everton after being an unused substitute against Manchester United due to a lack of fitness.
However, defender Diego Llorente will not return from his leg injury until next week.
Everton are still without Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Ben Godfrey, Andre Gomes and James Rodriguez. Forward Moise Kean is available again, having missed the win over Southampton because of covid-related reasons.
Brentford vs Crystal Palace
Brentford head to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace tomorrow and The Bees and their fans are still buzzing after last weekend’s thoroughly deserved opening day win over Arsenal.
“I need to praise Crystal Palace because they have been in the Premier League for the last eight years and have been very consistent in everything they do,” said coach Thomas Frank. “They have a low budget and constantly produce good performances in the last eight years. It is very impressive what they have achieved.
Asked about the hostile reception that awaits his team at one of the Premier League’s more raucous grounds, Frank said his team wouldn’t have it easy. “It is going to be very difficult. Selhurst Park is one of the most difficult places to go in the Premier League,” he said.
Aston Villa vs Newcastle
Aston Villa forward Ollie Watkins hasn’t recovered from a knee injury in time to face Newcastle, while Bertrand Traore faces several weeks out with a hamstring problem.
Midfielders Morgan Sanson and Douglas Luiz could be involved, although the latter only recently returned from the Olympics and is unlikely to start.
Newcastle are without Jonjo Shelvey, who has a fresh calf injury, but Joe Willock is available after completing his permanent move late last week.
Liverpool v Burnley
Aston Villa v Newcastle Unite
Crystal Palace v Brentford
Leeds United v Everton
Manchester City v Norwich City
Brighton v Watford
Southampton v Manchester United
Wolves v Tottenham Hotspur
Arsenal v Chelsea
West Ham v Leicester City