Benteke fit for Liverpool, Klopp backs medical staff

LONDON: Belgian striker Christian Benteke is fit for Liverpool's Premier League game away to Chelsea this weekend, manager Juergen Klopp said on Friday.

England international Daniel Sturridge remains on the long injury list, but Klopp echoed Arsenal's Arsene Wenger, who earlier in the day had refused to blame his club's medical staff for so many players being unavailable.

"If you look at the kind of injuries we have had, it’s nothing to do with the medical department," the German told a news conference.

"It's because of hits and other things.

"It's normal in football that nobody wants to wait but you have to because recovery and rehab need time."

One report on Friday said nine first-team players have suffered muscle injuries this season, defender Kolo Toure being the latest when he came off during the Capital One Cup tie at home to Bournemouth in midweek.

Liverpool won that game 1-0 to give Klopp his first win after three draws since taking over from Brendan Rodgers earlier this month.

They are ninth in the table, three points ahead of champions Chelsea before meeting their old rivals on Saturday.

"We have to respect the quality of Chelsea, let's try everything and play well," Klopp said.

"In history it was a great game. It's a big match but I've been in football many years and I've had some big matches."

Klopp has come up against Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho previously in matches between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid.

"I'm full of respect for his work," he said.

"If you're not a journalist or a referee he can be a nice guy. He is emotional. I am emotional.

"But we are professional enough to know after the final whistle normal life starts again.

"Everything is okay between us, no problem."

Having already lost five league games and gone out of the Capital One Cup on penalties to Stoke City in midweek, Chelsea are having a disappointing season.

Klopp, however, believes his first visit to Stamford Bridge will be a tough one.

"Have Chelsea forgotten how to play football? No," he added.

"You know how they played last season. Their set-plays with (Gary) Cahill, (John) Terry, all their big guys, it’s difficult.

"I am not sure it is easier to play them now than last year. Maybe self-confidence makes things something, but to be wounded can make you stronger too.

"They won’t feel life is as good as it can be, and to change it is a big motivation.

"But we are motivated too."