London (AFP) – New Everton boss Sam Allardyce has hailed the “genius” of Liverpool’s attackers as he prepares to take on Jurgen Klopp’s free-scoring team in the Merseyside derby on Sunday.
Allardyce takes his side to Anfield hoping to repeat the feat he managed with Crystal Palace in April, when the Eagles came from a goal down to claim victory.
But he is well aware of the attacking riches at Liverpool’s disposal, with Klopp able to call on Philippe Coutinho, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, all of whom were on the scoresheet in the midweek 7-0 Champions League demolition of Spartak Moscow.
“Sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and say the pure genius of the movement and the quality of the players — you can’t say, if we can block these one or two players off we will stop Liverpool, it’s more than that at the moment, there’s four or five,” said Allardyce.
“That’s the hard bit for us. And also their finishing ability has increased. They don’t have to rely on one or two people to score goals, there’s goals all around the frontline now so we’ve got to make sure we try our very best to cope with that.”
Allardyce got off to a great start as Toffees manager with a 2-0 victory over Huddersfield Town last weekend.
“We won last year at Palace and that was after going a goal down,” he said. “I’ve got to look at that, what did we do. I think Liverpool are playing much better today but it can be done.”
Allardyce was evasive on reports of a January move for Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but did not rule it out.
Asked if he was the sort of player who could replace Romelu Lukaku’s goals, Allardyce said: “Possibly, but it is the hardest thing today to recruit a centre-forward who scores goals. And is it the right type of centre-forward that scores goals?
“My first signing has to be correct, has to be the right signing for Everton and for my future. You make bad signings, you get the sack.”
Liverpool left-back Alberto Moreno will miss the derby due to an ankle injury sustained against Spartak, with fears he could be out until the New Year, but one player almost certain to start is Coutinho after his first hat-trick for the club in midweek.
Speculation about a renewed bid from Barcelona continues after their failure to sign him in the summer but Klopp is keen to avoid another long-running saga.
“No one who has influence on it came to me so far and said, ‘Phil will be away in January’,” he said. “I am completely fine with the situation.”
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