Klopp happy with de Bruyne’s return, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Klopp happy with de Bruyne’s return

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said he was "happy" that Manchester City's star playmaker Kevin de Bruyne is in contention to feature in tomorrow morning's (Singapore time) blockbuster clash at the Etihad.

The Belgian has started only one English Premier League match this season due to knee ligament injury.

De Bruyne missed City's 3-1 win over Southampton last Sunday but his manager Pep Guardiola said he is recovering well.

Said Guardiola: "He trained today but tomorrow we need another check in the morning. He's much better."

Klopp welcomed the news, saying: "Kevin de Bruyne is a fabulous player. Missing a player like him is a massive blow.

"He is very influential. He is a world-class player.

"I expected he is back. I am happy that he's back and is not seriously injured again.

"I love the player. Everyone who loves football should love him."

Klopp's Liverpool side go into the fixture seven points clear of champions Manchester City at the EPL summit, a gap that could be stretched to 10 points if the Reds keep up their good recent form against City.

Liverpool have won three and drawn one of their last four clashes with City.

Guardiola and midfielder Bernardo Silva had previously said that City could drop out of the title race should they fail to take maximum points in Manchester, but Klopp has downplayed the significance of the match.

Said the German: "The opponent is, for me, still the best team in the world...

"A couple of weeks ago, we were a point behind and then (the talk) was if we lose, then it's four points, can you close that gap?

"It's all only talk. It has nothing to do with the reality...

"If we would be 10 points behind, would the first thing I say be, 'We'll catch them'.

"Of course not, it's difficult with the qualities all the teams have.

"But it's January 3. It's a very, very important game for both teams, obviously.

"I would use it as motivation for the other team."

Despite the pressure on City to win and keep the title race alive, Guardiola is confident his side can get all three points.

He said: "Last year, we beat them 5-0 here. It's Liverpool, the best team in England's history. We can beat them.

"I know today nobody trusts us, but it is what it is."