Both Eddie Howe and Jurgen Klopp addressed the press on Friday their respective press conferences ahead of the game on Sunday.
Here is a brief overview of what they both had to say, starting with Eddie Howe.
Asked about Bruno and his responses to some of the social media criticism that was aimed in his direction Howe responded, “Bruno is a very emotional person. You've seen it on the pitch and it's such a positive for us. He's used it brilliantly for us to build a feeling with the supporters. They see how much it means to him. He's used that so well. Maybe it's a little lesson for him”.
Speaking at his press conference Eddie Howe talked about the arrival of Lewis Hall and what attracted him about the teenager. Howe said Versatility was one of the many attributes that the player has. Hall may be regarded by many as a left back, but he can also operate as both an attacking and holding midfielder as well as a recognised left back or wing back.
On injuries Howe stated that Joelinton had trained in the latter part of the week. So, all being well the Brazilian should be available for selection come Sunday Afternoon.
The news also sounded encouraging for Joe Willock according to Howe “He's making good progress. This is probably the strongest he's looked in terms of his hamstring. He had it re-scanned a couple of days ago and the report back was very good, no problems”.
Regarding outgoings it looks like Ryan Fraser could be heading back to the south coast, this time linking up with Southampton.
And when asked about Manquillo the possibility of the player departing for pastures new before the window shuts, the response from Howe was “Possibly. It depends on what he wants. I'm trying to build the squad as deep as I can for the robust season that we have ahead. After the international break we have a really intense period of games. I'd like him to stay but it's in his hands”.
Regarding the game itself Howe responded with the same feelings that most supporters have when this fixture comes around, saying “These games are iconic - Newcastle vs Liverpool battles. Last year we were disappointed with the two defeats. The last minute of that Anfield game has replayed in my mind many times. The game at home was also painful in a different way. It was a day we didn't start very well but we played well with ten men”.
As is often the case with these pre match press conferences Howe was asked about his relationship the opposition manager; in this case with Jurgen Klopp.
Howe’s response was quite forthright “I don’t really have a relationship with any manager, I’m competing against them. I find it very difficult to have personal relationships with competitors.
I’ve been the same as a player, I wouldn’t talk before the game to people I knew on the other team, I just draw a line. That’s just how I’ve always been. I respect Jurgen a lot, I think he’s done an unbelievable job, he’s an unbelievable manager, but I draw the line at friendships because they don’t exist for me against competitors”
Howe also took the time to speak about Alexander Isak, saying “He's well on the way [to reaching his potential]. There's always more room for improvement but Alex has shown his ability here consistently. Really good goal tally and I hope that continues at the pace it has. His all-round game has improved”.
Jurgen Klopp meanwhile addressed his latest bugbear, the Saudi Pro League at his morning press conference.
“It's not cool for us, that's how it is. If we go and want a player from e.g., Wigan, we go there, and they tell us the price and we pay it probably. Bundesliga is like that if Bayern or Dortmund come.
That's the way it goes. Now there is a next level, it's not great. This is kind of the business.
What makes it not possible to deal with anymore is if our transfer window stops and their transfer window stays open.
The authorities should make clear if you want to be part of the system, then do your business at the same time as all the others at least.
I'm pretty sure FIFA could do it like this (clicks fingers), but I'm not sure they want to”.
Klopp’s angst towards the ownership of Newcastle United by the Saudi PIF has been well documented and is undoubtedly due to the fact that Saudi club Al Ittihad have reportedly lined up a bid to take Mohamed Salah to the Jeddah based club to join recent signings Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante and former Anfield teammate Fabinho.
This is despite over £50m being injected into his club following the recent sale of Jordan Henderson and the aforementioned Fabinho to Al-Ettifaq and Al-Ittihad respectively.
On the salah situation Klopp merely said “Mo is '100 percent' committed to LFC”
On the game Klopp was a little more open
“Newcastle is a very strong team, qualified for the Champions League, fully deserved.
Super developed under Eddie Howe, super business.
Super intense style, a massive atmosphere there”.
Asked about his latest acquisition Wataru Endo Klopp went into his own version Mourinho mode stating “Still early days but on top of that, after half a session playing in a team who has to defend with 10 men pretty much is really difficult. I think he did exceptionally well for that.
We have him here for three sessions now this week, looks good. He is a good player, but I really think that if it were that easy to bring someone in in the centre of the park, why do we train the others so long?”
Postscript: Endo has been bought as a defensive midfielder!