Liverpool v Chelsea preview: Jurgen Klopp content with first season's showing at Anfield

Liverpool manager is in confident mood ahead of visit of Chelsea and with a week to go before Europa League final

James Mariner
Tuesday 10 May 2016 18:13
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The Liverpool coach believes his side are well set to challenge for bigger honours next season
The Liverpool coach believes his side are well set to challenge for bigger honours next season

Jurgen Klopp believes his Liverpool side are on the right track as they enter the final week of his first season in charge at Anfield.

The club host Chelsea on Wednesday in their final home match of a campaign that has included a run to the Capital One Cup final and also next week's Europa League final.

A league trip to West Bromwich Albion on Sunday precedes next Wednesday's meeting with Spanish side Sevilla in Switzerland, a win in which would see the Reds qualify for a Champions League place next season.

“Everyone can see the good signs and we will build on it,” the German, who replaced Brendan Rodgers in October, said.

“We have to improve and I am sure we will. A lot of things need to be perfect for a really good season. I'm really looking forward to next season, but this season we are still looking for what we can get.”

“I'm not too interested in when Chelsea can next win the title and I have no idea when we can but we will try everything to build on the base of this season.”

Klopp also remains confident injured captain Jordan Henderson and striker Daniel Sturridge will be fully fit for England's Euro 2016 campaign, for which Roy Hodgson names his squad on Monday.

Midfielder Henderson has not featured since damaging knee ligaments at Borussia Dortmund in April, while Sturridge has endured another stop-start campaign, as well as struggling with his form.

“It is really good news on Hendo,” Klopp said. “I said two weeks ago it wasn't sure, but 100 per cent he will be fit for the European Championship.

“We tried everything to avoid surgery and the surgeon has said it is not necessary. Yesterday he trained, not with the team, and it looks good.

“About Sturridge I am pretty sure... he is in good shape.”

Liverpool will again make changes from last Sunday's victory over Watford, when a number of players were rested following the exertions against Villarreal in the Europa League semi-final.

Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren and Kolo Toure are all set to return in defence, along with Emre Can and James Milner in midfield.

England forwards Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana are also likely to feature, while Brad Smith returns from suspension following his red card at Swansea earlier this month.

Daniel Sturridge is expected to return against his former side at Anfield on Wednesday 

“We had a few changes and most of the players who play [on Wednesday] will be in good physical shape,” Klopp continued, ahead of his 50th match in charge of the Anfield club.

“I've learned to rotate; I'm not the world champion at this but I'm not too bad, and we will be ready 100 per cent for the final.

“Sevilla changed 11 positions in their last game. They are already preparing for the final but we cannot do this because we are not in a fixed [League] position.

John Terry is suspended for Chelsea following his dismissal at Sunderland last Saturday and the former England captain could have played his last game for the club.

The defender is out of contract this summer and said in January he would not be extending his stay at Stamford Bridge, although the club have yet to comment.

John Terry is suspended for Chelsea amid reports of a summer move to China

Striker Loic Remy (groin) and defender Kurt Zouma (knee) also miss the trip for Guus Hiddink's side.

“Whatever will happen, whether he stays, whether he goes - he deserves a huge goodbye,” interim manager Hiddink said of Terry.

“Whether it would've been the last game that's not up to me. When I make a judgement on how he plays and his fitness on his age, he's able to play, he's able to continue.

“Where? What the near future is is up to the club, it's not for me to make declarations on that.”

“[Incoming manager Antonio Conte] and his assistants are watching. They're clever enough and experienced enough to make their own judgements.”

Chelsea have not been beaten in four years at Anfield but were overcome 3-1 at home by the Reds in October and have lost five of their last nine matches as they near the end of the worst-ever defence of a Premier League title. Liverpool are protecting a 12-game unbeaten home run.

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