Paul Cook admits Wigan Athletic are ‘miles off’ where they need to be ahead of Friday night’s opening pre-season friendly against Liverpool.
But the lifelong Liverpool fan admits the game – his first in charge of Latics following his summer arrival from Portsmouth – will be special.
“It’s just a great game isn’t it – a great game for everyone,” he told the Wigan Post.
“When you are such a big fan of a club, it just adds that extra spice.
“But you also have to be professional, and look at it from a football point of view.
“It’s going to be a tough game – Liverpool will say they’re not ready, we’re nowhere near ready either.
“We’re miles off – we’ve done one session on shape at the minute, and we’ve got so many players injured or unavailable.
“That’s not a criticism but a fact, and what we’ll do is acquit ourselves as well and as professionally as we can.”
Cook is also looking forward to pitting his wits against Jurgen Klopp, a man he clearly holds the highest regard for.
“I personally see Jurgen Klopp as a perfect fit for the club,” Cook enthused.
“In the days of non-stability, I think he’d be a perfect one for us to stay with, for as long as we can.
“You hear this week about (Romelu) Lukaku saying he’s joining the biggest club in the world in Manchester United.
“I think for any Liverpool fan, we believe that Liverpool Football Club is the biggest in the world.
“When you’ve had that history we’ve had, when you’ve had the success we’ve had, every supporter is entitled to believe that.
“But you only have to look around and see what the clubs in this area are doing to realise it’s a real hotbed of football.”
The clash is also meaningful for Peter Reid, the Everton legend who’s been helping Cook this month on the training ground as a volunteer.
“Peter’s already had a gripe, he wants us to kick them off the park on Friday!” laughed Cook. “I certainly won’t be buying into that one for sure.”
Fellow scouser and Reds supporter Max Power has also spoken of his desperation to get out there on the field, after missing last summer’s friendly between the two sides having been selected for the Manchester United clash 24 hours earlier.
“It’s a great game for our lads,” acknowledged Cook.
“It’s a really difficult game for our lads – for a first home game it’s as tough as it gets.
“We all have that professional pride, and the first thing we do when we speak about the game is we want to win.
“But we’re also not stupid enough to know that playing against Liverpool that might not be easy.
“We’ll certainly be doing our best, and not just turning up for the game, but we want to give them a good game.”