Jurgen Klopp admits Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s contract extension is a “bittersweet” feeling.
The Gunners are enjoying somewhat of a resurgence under manager Mikel Arteta and were boosted this month when Aubameyang ended month of uncertainty by extending his contract.
And ahead of their clash at Anfield, Klopp revealed his delight at Aubameyang’s stay in the Premier League – but is also wary of the threat he poses to his own team.
Writing in his programme notes, he said: “The news that a player I know very well is committed to staying with them is bittersweet.
“I have been blessed to know Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and his family for a long time. He is a wonderful person as well as being a wonderful player.
“I say ‘bittersweet’ about his contract extension because as an opponent who has to face him it makes our jobs so much harder.
“But again, as a football fan and someone who now works in the Premier League, it is so good for the competition to have the very best in the world doing their thing here. He is definitely that.
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“So our task today is very clear. We face amazing players, with outstanding football leadership, who are currently in a positive mood. An exciting challenge, I would say.”
Their last two encounters have seen the Gunners prevail, albeit once on penalties in last month’s Community Shield, and Klopp has heaped praise on Arteta.
He added: “What a superb job Mikel is doing already at Arsenal. It is clear from their performances and results that he has imposed himself and his ideas early. The team already has a clear identity and purpose under his leadership.
“They have also become ‘winners’ in a short space of time under Mikel, with the FA Cup and Community Shield. Congratulations on both of these – great achievements.
“Arsenal have an exceptional group of players. From back to front, world-class talent. Obviously without supporters in the stadiums you have to feel this positivity via what you hear and see through the media, but it is obvious their club has a bounce about it.
“I think this is great for the Premier League if I’m being honest. From a selfish point of view, not great for us because it is another outstandingly strong team in a competition full of them. But Arsenal is a fantastic football club and therefore as a ‘football fan’ I love to see them in this sort of mood. Hopefully not today, though!”