Jürgen Klopp insists Liverpool will take to the field against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening with 'all focus' on trying to progress into the fourth round of the tournament.
The Reds kick off their League Cup campaign for 2018-19 at Anfield where they’ll take on Maurizio Sarri’s side in the first of two meetings this week, with the second a Premier League encounter at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
However, having vowed to field a ‘really strong side’, Klopp has outlined Liverpool’s ambitions of going all the way in the competition and asserted there’ll be no thoughts of what’s to come this weekend creeping into their approach.
“First of all, we should completely ignore the game on Saturday because [tomorrow] is nothing to do with that,” the manager told journalists assembled at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday. “It is a completely different competition and a coincidence that we play them again in a few days.
“Whoever we would have played tomorrow night, after the game we would only then start to prepare for the one on Saturday – and that’s exactly how we do it now. In the moment, we only think only about tomorrow night.
“It is a competition we like. We’ve shown that, especially in my first season. It’s a difficult draw for both teams and it’s not that you think in the first two or three rounds you go through somehow and then in the semis it starts getting exciting.
“Now we want to show that we are ready for that as well. It’s a home game, floodlights, I like it [and it is] against very strong side, so it will be really interesting.
“It’s not about the other three competitions tomorrow night. It is one competition we have to play, not four, so that’s how we will take it; with all concentration, with all focus, with all intensity. It’s a normal game, people are coming to the stadium, so what you need is all there, so let’s exactly do it like that.”
Liverpool currently hold a two-point lead over Chelsea in the early-season Premier League standings, with the Blues’ 100 per cent start ended by a goalless draw at West Ham United on Sunday.
Klopp has been impressed by what he’s witnessed from the Blues so far this term and outlined his respect for the work of his counterpart, Sarri, since his arrival at Stamford Bridge in the summer.
“It’s the biggest change I ever saw in such a short period of time of system,” he said. “Wow, what a manager he is. I am pretty much a supporter of him since I saw them playing in Naples with outstanding football.
“Now [he is] doing it in a very interrupted pre-season without a lot of players involved. Eden [Hazard] was not there, Giroud not there and a few players were out. [But] starting the season and you see immediately the impact, all my respect.
“It’s really good to watch and he’s done a good job so far, I have to say. This team is experienced, they’ve won the title already, 80 per cent of them probably twice, so they know how it works. It is a really good group, a really strong football team.”