(Reuters) – Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp does not expect his side to repeat last season’s heroics away at Crystal Palace when they smashed the London side 7-0, saying on Friday that that huge win was a “freak of nature”.
Klopp said that Palace had found stability under Patrick Vieira and that he expected a battle against a tough side who sit 11th in the standings.
“That (7-0 win) was a one off. These days happen, it’s a freak of nature and it doesn’t happen usually,” Klopp told reporters ahead of Sunday’s match.
“They’ve changed and improved. They look like a really stable team now. It’s a really good Premier League team with a few really unlucky results, I would say.”
Despite key scorers Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane being away at the Africa Cup of Nations, Liverpool will go in with increased confidence after they reached the League Cup final with a 2-0 win at Arsenal on Thursday.
“Last night the boys were flying – loud music, those kind of things. That’s how it should be,” Klopp added.
“We feel good in this moment (about the League Cup) but we need to create a different atmosphere until Crystal Palace because they do not give out presents.”
Klopp said midfielder Harvey Elliott could return after the international break, having spent almost five months out of action due to ankle surgery.
“It’s outstanding to have him back. He’s an outstanding boy. He was out for a long time so we cannot rush it, but he looked directly like he could play,” Klopp said.
“I’m pretty sure after the international break he should be ready.”
Klopp said midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is training again and could rejoin the squad on Sunday after recovering from an ankle injury which kept him out of action against his former club in Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg win.
(Reporting by Silvia Recchimuzzi in Gdansk; Editing by Hugh Lawson)