Mauricio Pochettino wants Chelsea to spoil Jurgen Klopp’s ‘party’

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino

FILE - Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino. Photo: Philippe Desmazes/AFP

Published Jan 30, 2024


Mauricio Pochettino is hoping Chelsea do not give Liverpool cause for celebration as the pair clash on Wednesday in the Reds' first Premier League match since Jurgen Klopp announced he will leave at the end of the season.

Klopp was serenaded by his adoring Anfield audience during Sunday's 5-2 FA Cup win over Norwich just 48 hours after he made the shock announcement he will depart in May after nearly nine years in charge.

Liverpool will also meet Chelsea in next month's League Cup final at Wembley but Pochettino is hoping to rain on Klopp's parade despite his admiration for the German.

"It's a special game for him. Until the end it's going to be special," Pochettino said at his pre-match press conference

"Every time they play at Anfield it is going to be a party to celebrate and give him all the love the fans feel for him and I think he deserves it.

"But we are thinking to go there and win the game. Sorry, but we don't want to be involved as part of the celebration. We want to be party poopers, but that is on us to perform well and win the game."

Klopp, 56, said he no longer had the energy to carry on and vowed to take at least a one-year sabbatical.

But Pochettino, who had nearly a year out of the game before joining Chelsea in July, believes the German could return sooner than anticipated.

"After a few months at home, Jurgen will for sure start to miss the training sessions, the players. When you are in another part of your life you start to miss the part that was really important for you," added Pochettino.

"It's a coach and person I am going to miss. I love to watch him on the touchline and the team he manages. I hope he will only be away a few months, maybe one year, and then will come back."

Pochettino endured a difficult start to his reign at Stamford Bridge, but he is beginning to find the right blend amidst a talented young squad that cost over £1 billion ($1.3 billion) in transfer fees over the past 18 months.

Chelsea have lost just twice in their last 10 games to climb up to ninth in the Premier League as well as reaching the League Cup final.

The Blues' injury problems are also easing with Christopher Nkunku and Malo Gusto set to be included in the squad for the trip to Anfield.

Nicolas Jackson could also return after Senegal's elimination at the Africa Cup of Nations, but Levi Colwill misses out.