London (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes “world-class” Harry Kane poses a bigger threat to his side than Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku did last weekend.
The Reds boss succeeded in dousing the threat from in-form United striker Lukaku in the goalless draw at Anfield although the job was made easier by Jose Mourinho’s cagey tactics.
But Klopp believes Kane, who has 15 goals in 15 appearances for club and country and 81 goals in 102 Premier League matches, is a different prospect.
“I don’t have to judge these two. They are both fantastic strikers,” he said on Friday. “The difference is that Harry is much more a part of the game when he is not scoring — but I am pretty sure Lukaku can make these steps too.
“We avoided the balls to Lukaku and that must be a key for Harry as well but if we are too concentrated on one player then Dele Alli is everywhere or (Christian) Eriksen shoots from everywhere with decisive passes.”
Klopp believes Kane’s rise will present Tottenham with a challenge over the next couple of years, with the player linked to the likes of European champions Real Madrid.
The Liverpool boss, who experienced a similar problem in the summer when Barcelona tried to sign playmaker Philippe Coutinho, had a word of warning for Spurs.
“It will be a big challenge for them in the next few years because Harry is not only one of the best strikers in Europe he is one of the best strikers in the world, 100 per cent,” Klopp told the press at Liverpool’s Melwood training ground.
Klopp will go to Wembley to take on third-placed Spurs on Sunday without one of his most potent attacking threats as Sadio Mane continues his recovery from a hamstring injury sustained in the last international break.
Senegal coach Aliou Cisse has named the pacy forward in his squad for their World Cup qualifiers against South Africa on November 10 and 14, saying there is “no doubt” the player will be 100 per cent fit.
Klopp, whose side are in mid-table after a mixed bag of results, played down those expectations, however, as the initial assessment from the club’s medical staff was up to six weeks, which would take Mane beyond those dates.
“I don’t know how he can know. I don’t know,” said Klopp of Cisse. “Sadio is still in rehab indoors. He is not doing any exercises outside.
“If he is fit earlier I would be really happy but no one knows in this moment. They have very important games… so they feel the pressure a little bit but we cannot change the situation.
“If Sadio is fit we cannot hide it, why should we do it? If he is fit we can do nothing to keep him here and he will go to Senegal but at this moment I don’t know.”