Leicester can finish top four in Premier League, says Klopp

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp sees no reason why Leicester City should not be able to finish in the Premier League's top four this season.

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers will return to Anfield for the first time since sacking in 2015.   -  Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp believes Leicester City is "100 per cent" contenders for Champions League qualification as only its name sets them apart from the Premier League's top six.

Leicester is not considered among the established elite in England, despite winning the title in 2015-16, but it heads into Saturday's game against Klopp's Liverpool sitting third in the table.

With Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United all showing signs of weakness in the opening weeks of the season, the possibility of Leicester breaching not just the top six but the top four has been openly discussed.

Klopp certainly sees no reason why the Foxes should not be aiming high, believing they can produce a campaign second only to their title-winning heroics.

"It looks like [they can compete for the top four], 100 per cent," Klopp told a pre-match news conference.

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"There is no difference to all the top-six teams - apart from maybe the name. For sure, this is the second best year they will have. It's built from the back. The goalie is still there, the defence looks solid, the midfield is creative and hard-working, and offensively they are really creative and straightforward. That is how you build a team.

"[James] Maddison was not fit for the last game so [Dennis] Praet came in, a player I have known for a long time. It's built in a way that you would want to build a team, from the back. And it's not forbidden to show up in the top four. Everyone who is ready for that will fight for it. They will fight for it until the end."

Leicester's visit will also see manager Brendan Rodgers return to Anfield for the first time since his sacking in 2015, which came just over a year on from leading Liverpool to within a whisker of their first championship since 1990.

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Klopp is now the man aiming to end the Reds' drought, but he hopes Rodgers will be granted a warm reception.

"I hope from the fans the reception will be OK. From my side, it's fine," said Klopp, who rents Rodgers' old house. "All the issues from a couple of years ago, when we started living in his house, are sorted. We love living there. We pay our rent for him, so I'm not sure he has to work but he still does. You're welcome!

"He's doing really well. I'm not surprised, to be honest. I knew when I came that he was not the reason that things didn't work out."

No sign of Alisson's return

Klopp revealed goalkeeper Alisson was back with the rest of the group following a period of solitary and goalkeeper-only training but confirmed that Joel Matip and Xherdan Shaqiri are definitely out.

"With Alisson it is still 'maybe, maybe not'," Klopp told reporters on Friday. "Yesterday [Thursday] he trained with the team for the first time.He looked really good, but we will see. We have to talk to different people before I make a decision about that.

"Joel [Matip] looks good but he is not ready for [Leicester], and Shaq [Shaqiri] no. After the international break they are all pretty much back on track."

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