Jurgen Klopp has promised Liverpool will treat their FA Cup clash with Everton with respect despite the Reds boss preparing to ring the changes for Sunday’s game and added that the house next door to him is free if opposite number Carlo Ancelotti is looking for new digs.
The Premier League leaders welcome their neighbours to Anfield for the pick of the third-round ties, with Everton looking to record their first victory on enemy soil since 1999.
The Blues were beaten 5-2 when the sides met in the league in early December, but have since replaced the beleaguered Marco Silva with a new manager in the shape of Ancelotti.
Ancelotti, the former Milan, Real Madrid, PSG, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Napoli boss, has guided them to two wins from his three games in charge, and with Klopp set to make wholesale changes to his starting line-up, Everton will be hopeful of ending their long wait for an Anfield win.
Asked what had changed since the league meeting, Klopp said: “The mood. What is obvious is that one team was in a sensational mood with momentum on our side and the other team was not. That is what has obviously changed.
“Everton had these three or four weeks, I don't know exactly how long, when there were question marks over Marco Silva. That is never a good situation. And then they met us on that night when we were on our toes, 100 per cent focused, in really good shape and in a good moment.
“It was always like this, but it was one game. We can go to Goodison Park and it is a completely different game. They are 100 per cent in a different situation to a few weeks ago. We know that, so we don't compare the last game, we just try to find a solution for this game.”
Liverpool, of course, remain in good form having won all of their games since that Everton victory. They maintained their 13-point lead at the top of the Premier League by beating Sheffield United on Thursday night but lost another player, Naby Keita, to injury.
Keita, along with Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip, Fabinho, Xherdan Shaqiri, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Nathaniel Clyne, will miss Sunday’s game, and Klopp is ready to put his faith in a number of youth and fringe players.
He confirmed at Melwood on Friday that teenage striker Rhian Brewster would be involved, while Adrian is expected to start in goal. Centre-back Nathaniel Phillips could make his debut for the club, while Curtis Jones, Ki-Jana Hoever, Neco Williams and Harvey Elliott are all likely to feature, along with Adam Lallana and Divock Origi. New signing Takumi Minamino is another option.
Klopp insisted at his press conference that the fact it was Everton would play no part in his decision-making process.
“We will make it the occasion it should be,” he said. “We will have a line-up. I said I have no clue about who I will select, but what I said is that I cannot make it different because it is Everton or it is another team, that is what I cannot do.
“We are in the middle of the season: 18 games to go plus hopefully some more in cup competitions. I cannot say we throw everything at it [Everton] even if some players are limping, that is not what I say. There are no more important or less important games, I just have to make a decision.
“I know I have to make a decision right for this moment by respecting a game from two days ago and five days ago and a week ago and stuff like this. That is it.”
Klopp also opened up on his relationship with Ancelotti, a manager he counts as a friend.
“We used to be!” he laughed. “We didn't see each other a lot, so it is strange that we both feel like this. We've met around games and meetings as manager.
“When he came here I thought 'If I had a party could I invite the Everton manager?’ I am not on social media but if I took a picture like this [with him] and sent it out, I don't know how exactly that would look to the outside world!
“But I would not bring him into this kind of situation. I only want to bring him difficulties on the pitch and we always respect each other.
“I am not sure where he lives but the house next to me is free and that would be really funny!”