Liverpool manager Klopp braces for youthful Chelsea

By AFP: Sunday, September 22nd 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
Chelsea's Tammy Abraham celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal of the game and his hat-trick during their English Premier League soccer match against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux, Wolverhampton, England, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. [AP]

Jurgen Klopp warned Liverpool on Friday to brace for a fierce fight with the Chelsea youngsters that remind him of the thrilling Borussia Dortmund sides that took Germany and Europe by storm.

Klopp, whose Premier League leaders take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge today at 6:30pm, built a dynamic team in his seven years at Dortmund fuelled by gifted prodigies including Mario Goetze, Nuri Sahin, Shinji Kagawa and Robert Lewandowski.

He sees more than a few similarities between Dortmund teams that won the Bundesliga in consecutive seasons and reached the Champions final in 2013, and the way Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has put his faith in the Blues’s kids.

“It’s a really exciting team, it reminds me a little bit of my team at Dortmund years back when they were really young, even younger than this Chelsea team,” Klopp said.

“People always talked about how young they are but they only played because they were that good, they didn’t play because they were that young. They brought in Christian Pulisic in the summer and all the players around him have the same value — Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, (Callum) Hudson-Odoi.

“A good team, all my respect. They are a proper contender for pretty much everything.”

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Academy graduates Abraham, Mount and Fikayo Tomori have all enjoyed strong starts to Lampard’s first season in charge, with Chelsea’s transfer ban forcing their new manager to give the youngsters an opportunity that was hard to come by in previous years of big spending by the Blues.

Abraham already has seven goals this season, while Mount is hopeful of featuring this weekend after recovering from an ankle injury suffered in Tuesday’s Champions League defeat against Valencia.

Liverpool head to Chelsea having won all of their opening five league matches but with only one away win against top six opposition in their previous 12 attempts.

Despite his praise for Chelsea’s young tyros, Klopp must fancy his chances of ending that frustrating streak against a team still looking for their first home win under Lampard.

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