Jurgen Klopp admits he feared Everton would become Liverpool’s ‘next proper challenger in line’
Jurgen Klopp has admitted he thought Everton could be ‘the next proper challenger’ to Liverpool when Carlo Ancelotti took over at Goodison Park.
The Toffees are flying high atop the Premier League table ahead of Saturday’s early kick-off, the biggest Merseyside derby in years.
And Klopp is not surprised by the success of his side’s fierce rivals after they conducted ‘perfect business’ in the summer.
‘What I think about Carlo Ancelloti was never a secret. I couldn’t respect him more. He’s a wonderful human being,’ the German told BBC Football Focus.
‘When I heard he was going to sign for Everton I thought “Uhhh, the next proper challenger in line”.
‘They did the perfect business in the summer. They found exactly the players that they needed to improve an already pretty good football team.
‘Together, getting more used to what Carlo wants them to do makes them a pretty strong team.’
The sensational form of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has scored nine goals already for Everton this season, is a key component but the whole picture is looking rosier at Goodison, says Klopp.
He added: ‘Calvert-Lewin, I really expected him to make big steps in the next few years and he did.
‘And now it all works together – both wings have top-class players with James and Richarlison. Midfield, Allan plus whoever plays there, if it’s Sigurddson or whoever.
‘So it’s a really, really good team and the last line works better because in a good team it’s easier to defend. That’s what you see when you watch Everton, so it will be a really interesting game.’
Everton last won a Merseyside derby exactly a decade ago on Saturday back in 2010.
Many feel this is their best chance to end that barren run, particularly with Liverpool coming off the back of the remarkable 7-2 defeat by Aston Villa before the international break.