klopp on | 

John Aldridge: Man City owners don’t like the accusations – but Jurgen Klopp was spot on

world cup stars should be put straight in side as kop target city’s scalp in cup

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England's Jordan Henderson during the FIFA World Cup Quarter-Final match at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar. Picture date: Saturday December 10, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story WORLDCUP England. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.© PA

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John AldridgeSunday World

LIVERPOOL renew their rivalry with Manchester City in Thursday night’s Carabao Cup tie – and the World Cup will be a distant memory when this one kicks-off.

There was plenty of animosity between these two sides when Liverpool beat City at Anfield a few weeks back.

City even accused Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp of stoking the flames by suggesting Man City were lucky to have owners who bankroll their success.

City and their owners don’t like that accusation, but we all know it’s true!

So anyone expecting this first match after the World Cup will be a gentle introduction back can forget about it.

There may be some players who need a break after their exploits in Qatar, but I expect to see all the big guns out there and going into battle.

Personally, I wouldn’t want a break at any point in my career and I’m sure most of the modern players would share that sentiment.

After the 1994 World Cup in the United States with Ireland, I took the family away for a few days in Orlando and Clearwater in Florida.

I kept myself fit and didn’t need to go through a pre-season training block, so I was straight back to playing when I returned to Tranmere.

The 24 goals I scored in 33 league games suggested I wasn’t too tired after the World Cup experience with Ireland and I’d expect the same attitude from players now.

A football career is brief and you have to make the most of every opportunity, so get back on the horse straight away and go again.

Liverpool have been in Dubai over the last few days and the likes of Mohamed Salah, Andy Robertson, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip will certainly be raring to go.

Thiago Alcantara should be fit to play and so should Trent Alexander-Arnold, after he was left on the bench by England manager Gareth Southgate at the World Cup.

I would also expect to see captain Jordan Henderson giving his all in this game for Liverpool after a fine World Cup in England colours.

Henderson has been training with Liverpool in Dubai and we should not be surprised that he is ready to get straight back in the mix.

It baffles me that people still question Hendo after the performances he has consistently produced over the last number of years.

I wasn’t sure he was a top level performer when he arrived from Sunderland, but his attitude on and off the pitch has been exemplary and he must have won everyone over.

So expect Henderson to lead Liverpool into battle against City at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola, meanwhile, has got lucky with his World Cup cards.

Belgium’s early exit means Kevin De Bruyne should be fresh and ready to go, with Norway’s failure to qualify ensuring Erling Haaland will be ready to hit the ground running.

In my eyes, this match is more important for Liverpool than Manchester City.

Guardiola’s side are pushing to win the Premier League title again, but that target is no longer realistic for Liverpool after what was a difficult start to ten campaign.

So Klopp needs to focus on the domestic cups and the Champions League to ensure this strange season can have a successful finale.

Liverpool won the League Cup and FA Cup last season, with the Champions League final defeat against Real Madrid ending hopes of a cup treble.

Klopp will be eyeing up something similar as his side get back in action after this badly-timed World Cup.

Lose against City and Liverpool’s hopes of success in the New Year will certainly be greatly reduced.

So this is a massive game for Liverpool and I expect fireworks from the first whistle as top level club football makes a welcome return.

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