Jurgen Klopp believes Wilfried Zaha's new deal is like a new signing for Crystal Palace

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Klopp's Liverpool are up against Zaha and Crystal Palace.

Jurgen Klopp believes Wilfried Zaha‘s new deal at Crystal Palace is the equivalent of a “spectacular transfer” for Liverpool‘s next opponents.

The Ivory Coast international ended last season in stunning form and was linked with a big money move for most of the summer, with Chelsea and Tottenham most frequently mentioned.

A deal never materialised and, after kicking off the season with a goal against Fulham, he has now penned an improved five-year deal.

The Eagles strengthened their squad with the likes of Cheikhou Kouyate, Max Meyer and Jordan Ayew but, speaking ahead of Liverpool’s Monday night trip to Selhurst Park, Klopp identified the extension as Palace’s best piece of business.

“There were no spectacular signings but if you want you can see Zaha as a spectacular transfer,” he said.

“I think they are pretty happy that Wilfried signed a new contract. He’s very important and last year was probably the best example of that.”

The Reds are well fancied to return from the capital with another three points after a compelling 4-0 thrasing of West Ham on the opening day of the season but Klopp is also wary of another familiar threat: Christian Benteke.

Klopp inherited the Belgian striker when he arrived at Anfield in 2015 but struggled to find a place for him and allowed him to join Palace after just a year on Merseyside.

Klopp has hailed Zaha as Palace's best transfer window business.

Klopp has heaped praise on Palace star Zaha.

The 27-year-old had a torrid second season, contributing only three goals in a narrow escape from relegation and ultimately losing his place in Belgium’s World Cup squad.

Klopp, who was on the wrong end of a match-winning brace from Benteke 16 months ago, said: “Everybody who thinks about writing Benteke off makes a big mistake, because his obvious skills are always there.

“Even if he didn’t score too often last season, he always has opportunities. It’s a big challenge to defend set-pieces when Christian is around. He will score goals this season, there’s no doubt about that.”

Joe Gomez looks likely to be tasked with stopping Benteke, alongside Virgil van Dijk, in another welcome outing in his preferred centre-back position.

He has been shunted to right-back consistently in his Reds career but with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Nathaniel Clyne set to contest that role, Gomez has the chance to establish himself in the middle.

Joel Matip will prove stiff competition when fully fit but, having not played since March, he is liable to make his return on the bench.

“There was never any doubt about Joe and his ability to play centre-back, but he needed time,” said Klopp.

“He’s a very good football player, plays the position well and he has a very good understanding with Virgil.”

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Man City boss Pep Guardiola warns Huddersfield will provide tough test

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Guardiola is wary of the threat posed by Huddersfield.

Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City players of the dangers of facing Huddersfield so early in the season.

The champions, who opened their title defence with a comfortable win at Arsenal last weekend, host the Terriers at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

City needed a late goal to beat David Wagner’s men away last year and then could only manage a goalless draw against them on the day they were presented with the Premier League trophy in May.

“Last season was tough, those games,” City boss Guardiola said. “They defended so well.

“They are so tough – physicality, defensively strong, good set-pieces, good throw-ins, good counter-attack, good high pressing.

“It was complicated last season and I imagine quite similar games.

“In this part of the season, all the teams, especially those with a lot of players at the World Cup, you need time – one month or a month and a half.

“In this period, these kind of games are so dangerous for the players. Games like this – and Wolves, Cardiff, Fulham – I prefer these teams in October/November.

“In this period the contenders, the big teams, history says always drop points. I remember last season we dropped points against Everton, and Bournemouth we won in the 96th minute.

David Wagner's men ran City close in both matches last year.

David Wagner’s men ran City close in both matches last year.

“Always in this period games are so complicated. I guess it will be on Sunday.”

Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has a lot of respect for Huddersfield and the work of their manager David Wagner, his fellow German.

Gundogan said: “I know him from Dortmund, he was manager of the second team when I was there. He is a very nice guy and I really like him. He’s a very good manager.

“The first game wasn’t that good for them. I hope for them they are going to stay in the Premier League but obviously I hope it is after Sunday they start (winning).”

City will be without playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, who was ruled out for three months after suffering a knee injury in training this week.

The return to fitness of David Silva after a minor knock is therefore timely but 18-year-old Phil Foden, impressive in the Community Shield earlier this month, could also get more opportunities.

Guardiola said: “It is not easy to replace Kevin but we’ll try to do our best.”

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A big club like West Ham needs the London Stadium, says Manuel Pellegrini

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Manuel Pellegrini has vowed to end the negativity surrounding West Ham at the London Stadium.

The Hammers kick off their third season at the former Olympic stadium against Bournemouth on Saturday with some fans still unconvinced about the move from their old Upton Park home.

Such was the ill-feeling last season that the home game against Burnley was marred by pitch invasions and anti-board protests.

Meanwhile, on the pitch West Ham have won just 14 of their 38 Premier League matches at the stadium.

But as Pellegrini prepares for his first match in the home dug-out he insists there is no reason the club cannot make a success of their surroundings.

“It is a stadium for a big team. West Ham is a big team,” said the Hammers boss.

“The Boleyn Ground was a great stadium with a lot of atmosphere. But it was for 30,000 people. The London Stadium is for 55,000, so 25,000 more fans are allowed to see the game. It is our home stadium because it is what this club needs and deserves.

STRATFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 10: A general view inside the stadium as players warm up prior to the Premier League 2 match between West Ham United and Middlesbrough at London Stadium on April 10, 2017 in Stratford, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

London Stadium is the home of West Ham


“I don’t know why that stadium has to be difficult. I don’t see any reason why it has to be difficult.

“The pitch has the same measurements. The grass is in very good shape. The atmosphere, with 55,000 people, is great. The stadium is not an excuse.

“When a season finishes, it is is finished. All the experiences, positive or negative, must finish at the end of the season.

“Now we have a new season. I don’t know why it can be a negative stadium, there is not any reason.

“They changed from a stadium that was the club’s home for 100 years, that’s always a change. But it’s a positive change, not a negative change.”

Lucas Perez and Carlos Sanchez will be added to the West Ham squad.

The duo joined the Hammers on deadline day but were not involved in the 4-0 defeat at Liverpool on the opening day of the season.

Andy Carroll, Winston Reid and Manuel Lanzini remain long-term injury absentees but Pellegrini has an otherwise fully-fit squad.

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