By 90Min
August 10, 2018

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has likened his team to iconic fictional box Rocky Balboa ahead of the new Premier League as he insists the Reds are still firm underdogs compared to reigning champions and 2018/19 favourites Manchester City.

Liverpool have spent big on key positions over the summer, adding Fabinho, Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri and Alisson Becker to the existing captures of Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah in the previous two transfer windows.

Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Many have predicted that they will be City's closest challengers. But Klopp is happy to be the underdog, while suggesting Pep Guardiola's Sky Blues are Ivan Drago from 'Rocky IV'.

"The plan is that we really go for it. We want to be, it's clear for ages, champions of England. But what about the other clubs?" he said as addressed the press ahead of Sunday's opening against West Ham, via

"The champions are Manchester City; they didn't lose any player and they brought in [Riyad] Mahrez, so that doesn't make them weaker. We are still Rocky Balboa and not Ivan Drago. We are the ones who have to do more and fight more - that must be our attitude."

Liverpool haven't been crowned champions since 1990, but Klopp insists it is always his goal to aim high and he believes his current squad is capable of fighting their way to the top.

"My own expectations are always pretty high: make the best out of it, get everything out of it, try to reach the highest," the boss explained.

"Step by step, we come closer. People ask me already if it's the best squad I've ever had. I don't think about that because it's not what we have now, it's about what we make of it, how often we deliver, how often we bring ourselves in a mood to fight against all these Premier League teams who all want to have our points. We have to be ready to fight."

There are likely to be competitive Liverpool debuts for Keita, Shaqiri and Alisson against the Hammers, but Fabinho remains a doubt after recent bout of illness and will have to be assessed alongside Jordan Henderson, Joel Matip, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez.

Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan are both definitely out alongside long-term absentee Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

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