Jürgen Klopp discussed Everton’s progress under Carlo Ancelotti, Liverpool’s unbeaten streak versus their neighbours and the importance of the Merseyside derby during his pre-match press conference.

The boss previewed the 237th meeting between the Reds and the Blues, which takes place at Goodison Park this weekend, with the media on Friday.

On his recent description of Everton as ‘the next proper challenger in line’…

I think that you don’t need to be a manger to see that, it’s pretty clear that they did some good business and Carlo is a sensational manager. So it was always clear that when he has the time to build something then he will do that, if they have the resources to build something then he will do that, and that’s what he did.

This team looks really, really good – I would like to say something different but it’s not possible! So of course that’s a proper challenger. Look, so many teams did really good business in this transfer window, [business] which made real sense, and they all will improve.

All teams improve in that league and that’s what everybody has to know about. We know about that and that’s why we have to be ready for each of these games and tomorrow, in not even 24 hours, we can show that.

On whether the fact Everton haven’t won a derby since October 2010 has any affect on his players’ mindset…

Not at all… of course from my point of view long may it [Liverpool’s unbeaten run] continue, but we never really thought about it before we played them, before we played Everton not once did we think ‘they don’t win anyway’, these kind of things we never had in our minds. It’s hardest work for us tomorrow and we will be ready for that.

On whether the current COVID-19 restrictions in the Liverpool city region mean this edition of the derby takes on an added significance…

The derby is a big one in Liverpool, obviously. This city is, I like to think, not exactly 50-50 but a lot of people obviously support Everton and all the rest supports Liverpool. I don’t think you’d find one person in Liverpool who is not really interested in football. Even if you are not interested, you know somebody who is that much interested that you cannot really ignore that. So yes, it’s a big one, we know that.

If it’s now bigger because of the COVID situation in the city, I don’t know. When you are in the city, I don’t say it’s normal, it’s not normal like it’s pretty much everywhere not normal and we know about the restrictions. We don’t feel them here [at Melwood] but we know about them and I think this game is as important as ever but not more because of COVID. I don’t see that it depends on that.