Klopp tells Everton to ditch 'harsh challenges' in Merseyside derby and play 'football game'

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Everton usually throw in some "harsh challenges" on derby day, according to Jurgen Klopp, who wants his Liverpool side protected.

Jurgen Klopp has urged Everton not to be overly aggressive in their approach against his Liverpool team, hoping the Merseyside derby is "still a football game".

Liverpool are at a crucial stage of a campaign that has promised much, with the Champions League quarter-final second leg to come against Manchester City after this weekend's short trip across Stanley Park

And having seen Mohamed Salah fall victim to a knock in the stunning 3-0 home win over City, making the Egyptian a doubt, Klopp does not want to see any further injuries on Saturday.

While he says he understands the passion of a local rivalry, he believes Everton have not always played the game fairly in his time at Anfield.

"I have nothing to say on Everton's season – that's not my job," said Reds boss Klopp. "All I know is that, this weekend, they will be motivated to the highest level.

"They have a very good home record. If they struggled – I don't know if they see it like that – it was away, but now they have won at Stoke. Their last game was Man City, but that's a different game obviously. 

"They are a really good team. [Yannick] Bolasie is back, [Theo] Walcott is a new signing, [Cenk] Tosun is in a good moment. They have it all together, except [Gylfi] Sigurdsson is injured. That's a good football team. In defence, they are very experienced.

"I think each Evertonian thinks that, at Goodison, there must be a few extra per cent of desire [in a derby]. We need to be ready for that, 100 per cent, but I hope at the end it is still a football game.

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"In the last few years, it was always like that. There is always at least one harsh challenge – overly harsh challenge. In all the derbies I have played so far, one [player] has thought I need to do this overly hard.

"I hope we can go through the game without that. We all have our targets that we need to have the players for. We will be ready for hard challenges – 100 per cent. It's a derby.

"We need to be on fire again, then we will have a good chance."

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