Ancelotti's Everton are our title rivals, says Liverpool boss Klopp
Or at least, that’s what Reds boss Jurgen Klopp thinks.
Maybe it’s just mind games by the German coach ahead of the Merseyside derby this Saturday evening (SGT). Given the Toffees’ recent good form, however, there just might be some truth to Klopp’s seemingly outlandish declaration.
After all, Everton currently find themselves in the unfamiliar position at the top of the table, having won all four of their league games so far in style.
WATCH: 10 players to have played for Liverpool and Everton
And while Everton playmaker James Rodriguez might have gotten all the plaudits for the team’s rise in fortunes, Klopp believes that it is their manager, the wily and experienced Carlo Ancelotti, who is the real person to blame for giving Liverpool a title rival to worry about.
Speaking to the BBC, Klopp said: “When I heard he (Ancelotti) 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.”
Klopp also praised in-form striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, whose six goals so far this season sees him top of the Premier League goalscoring chart.
“Calvert-Lewin, I really expected him to make big steps in the next few years and he did,” Klopp explained. “He has everything you need in a top striker: size, mobility, speed, desire, technically really, really good, in the air, finishing with his head, both feet.”
And while reigning champions Liverpool are still considered favourites for the Merseyside derby, Klopp – with chants of “7-2, 7-2, 7-2” ringing in his head – knows they cannot take anything for granted against Everton, despite never having suffered defeat to their city rivals since he took over the club five years ago.
“Now it all works together for Everton - both wings have top-class players with James and Richarlison. Midfield, Allan plus whoever plays there, if it's Sigurdsson or whoever,” said Klopp.
“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.”