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Jurgen Klopp admits Liverpool’s Champions League group is the strongest he has faced as manager

Jurgen Klopp admits Liverpool’s Champions League group is the strongest he has faced as manager
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Jurgen Klopp admits Liverpool’s Champions League group is the strongest he has faced as manager

Jurgen Klopp admits Liverpool’s Champions League group is the strongest he has faced as manager

Jurgen Klopp smiled and gave a dramatic “Wow!” followed him along. As he grappled with the final question of his media duties.

Liverpool’s quest to win a seventh European Cup begins on Wednesday against AC Milan, one of only two clubs to have won more trophies than them. After that, there will be trips to Iberia, where Porto and Atlético Madrid – what is to Liverpool, what is Kryptonite to Superman – wait.

Klopp laughed when he looked at the draw at the end of August and saw what Liverpool were tied up with and in that time he hasn’t seen anything that has led him to believe his gut feeling was wrong.

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Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool’s Champions League group is the toughest he has faced as manager

The Reds will take on AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and Porto in their European group

The Reds will take on AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and Porto in their European group

The Champions League group stage can often be a lucrative affair, a sequence of matches in which the results are already conclusions, but not this time. Klopp couldn’t have been more clear as he explained exactly what awaits this autumn. He warned that one wrong move would have dire consequences.

“Since I’ve been at Liverpool, this is the strongest group, no doubt about it,” Klopp said. ‘In 2013 at (Borussia) Dortmund, we also had a real ‘Champions League’ group. We had Man City, Real Madrid and Ajax – a fair group! The people said: “Oh my God, how shall we pass?”

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‘What does this do for the competition? It turns out two really good teams, it will provide a really strong team in the Europa League, that’s for sure! I never understand when people talk about changes in the Champions League.

‘I love how it is, and this group clearly shows that there are no games where people think “Do I really want to see this?” This group will be exciting from first second to last second. Nothing will be decided soon. It keeps us on our toes.’

Klopp's team begins their Champions League campaign at home to AC Milan on Wednesday

Klopp’s team begins their Champions League campaign at home to AC Milan on Wednesday

They will need to be. It is only as the season picks up more momentum for teams that have the added challenge of Europe and have not lost on Klopp – especially with Premier League assignments against Manchester clubs in the not-too-distant future – that any Not likely to rest.

‘But it is what we wanted,’ said Klopp, whose side secured their place in the Champions League on the final day of last season. ‘We play Milan, Atlético, Porto, incredible stadiums, big crowds, passionate fans.

‘Porto – they are usually the champion or second in Portugal; A top, top team. AC Milan, big history and at its best moment of years. So this is the proper Champions League. It’s just like we love football, and now that we’ve got it, let’s deal with it.’

Remarkably, given the pedigree of the two clubs on this evening’s show, this is the first time Liverpool have hosted Milan, their previous meetings coming in the 2005 final – the story of which has been told several times – and 2007. .

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The last time they played each other was a pre-season friendly in 2016, Klopp’s first summer in charge. Liverpool made short work of Milan that night in California, a 2–0 win at home to the San Francisco 49ers, but there would be no such formality now.

Liverpool face Atletico again after the Spaniards kicked them out of the competition in the 2019-2020 campaign

Liverpool face Atletico again after the Spaniards kicked them out of the competition in the 2019-2020 campaign

Klopp also believes that Porto will prove to be a difficult opponent and highlighted the passion and atmosphere created by the fans in his stadium

Klopp also believes that Porto will prove to be a difficult opponent and highlighted the passion and atmosphere created by the fans in his stadium

It is a fixture brimming with intrigue and symbolism and, for Klopp, Milan will forever conjure memories of the formidable side of the late 1980s and early 1990s; He was inspired by Arigo Saatchi, the man who masterminded his amazing successes.

‘We are in touch from time to time,’ Klopp revealed. ‘Mr Sachi has my number, and he uses it from time to time. I answer frankly, but I don’t want to bother her with questions. I would never do that. He is not only one of the best managers ever, he is a very good person on top of that.

‘He was one of the most influential managers to me, and the way I love football is because he arranged the pitch in a different way with the formation he chose. The most influential manager I’ve had, Wolfgang Frank, was very impressed with this way of playing. That helped me a lot.’

What will help on Wednesday is a flying start and Klopp was in a much better state of mind as he dissected the game compared to Leeds on Sunday. He has spoken with Harvey Elliott, who will undergo surgery on Tuesday before a long road to fitness.

Goalkeeper Alison Baker said, ‘Harvey knows we are here for him whenever he needs us. ‘We are a real unit as a team. We celebrate together, and when an important player gets injured we get injured together for him.

‘Everyone needs to prepare for their time, even players who aren’t playing that much yet – they need to be in good shape because that’s all we’ll need in the long run.’

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