Jurgen Klopp smiled and adopted it with a theatrical “wow!” as he grappled with the final query of his media duties.
Liverpool’s quest to win a seventh European Cup begins on Wednesday in opposition to AC Milan, one in every of solely two golf equipment who’ve lifted the trophy greater than them. After that, there can be journeys to Iberia, the place Porto and Atletico Madrid – who’re to Liverpool what kryptonite is to Superman – await.
Klopp burst out laughing when he watched the draw being made at the finish of August and noticed who Liverpool had been paired with and nothing he has seen in the time since has satisfied him that his intestine feeling was unsuitable.
Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool’s Champions League group is the hardest he’s faced as manager
The Reds will come up in opposition to AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and Porto of their European group
The Champions League group stage can usually be a charmless affair, a sequence of matches wherein outcomes are foregone conclusions, however not this time. Klopp couldn’t have been any clearer as he spelt out exactly what awaits this autumn. One false transfer, he warned, may have big penalties.
‘This is the strongest group we have now had since I’m at Liverpool, little doubt about that,’ mentioned Klopp. ‘In 2013 at (Borussia) Dortmund, we had an actual ‘Champions League’ group as properly. We had Man City, Real Madrid and Ajax – a correct group! People mentioned: “My God, how will we get by?”
‘What does it do for the competitors? It kicks out two actually good groups, it is going to ship one actually sturdy group into the Europa League, that’s for certain! I by no means perceive when folks speak about modifications to the Champions League.
‘I prefer it the way it is, and this group clearly reveals that there are not any video games the place folks assume “Do I actually wish to watch that?” This group can be thrilling from the first second to the final second. Nothing can be determined early. That retains us on our toes.’
Klopp’s aspect start their Champions League marketing campaign at house to AC Milan on Wednesday
They will should be. This is when the season takes on a higher tempo for these groups who’ve the additional problem of Europe and it is not misplaced on Klopp – significantly with Premier League assignments in opposition to the Manchester golf equipment in the not too distant future – that there is no risk for relieving up.
‘But it is precisely what we needed,’ mentioned Klopp, whose aspect solely made sure of their place in the Champions League on the closing day of final season. ‘We play Milan, Atletico, Porto, unbelievable stadiums, nice crowds, passionate fanbase.
‘Porto – they’re normally champion or second in Portugal; a high, high group. AC Milan, huge historical past and of their greatest second for years. So that’s correct Champions League. It’s precisely how we like soccer, and now we received it, so let’s cope with it.’
Remarkably, given the pedigree of the two golf equipment on present this night, this is the first time Liverpool have ever hosted Milan, their solely earlier conferences coming in the finals of 2005 – the story of which has been informed many instances over – and 2007.
The final time they performed one another was in a pre-season pleasant in 2016, in what Klopp’s first summer season in cost. Liverpool made quick work of Milan that night time in California, successful 2-0 at the house of the San Francisco 49ers, however there received’t be any such formality now.
Liverpool face Atletico once more after the Spaniards knocked them out of the competitors in the 2019-2020 marketing campaign
Klopp additionally believes Porto will show to be difficult opponents and highlighted the ardour and ambiance the followers create at their stadium
It is a fixture laced with intrigue and symbolism and, for Klopp, Milan will all the time conjure recollections of the formidable aspect of the late Nineteen Eighties and early Nineties; he was impressed by Arrigo Saachi, the man who masterminded their fantastic successes.
‘We are involved now and again,’ Klopp revealed. ‘Mr Sacchi has my quantity, and he used it now and again. I clearly reply, however I don’t wish to trouble him with questions. I might by no means do this. He’s not solely one in every of the greatest managers ever, he’s a really good individual on high of that.
‘He was one in every of the most influential managers for me, and for the method I like soccer, as a result of he organised the pitch otherwise with the formation he selected. The most influential manager I had, Wolfgang Frank, was just about obsessive about this fashion of enjoying. That helped me lots.’
Liverpool have had historic battles with Milan in the previous together with the 2005 and 2007 Champions League finals
What will assistance on Wednesday is a flying begin and Klopp was in a considerably higher way of thinking as he dissected this recreation than he had been at Leeds on Sunday. He has spoken with Harvey Elliott, who will bear surgical procedure on Tuesday forward of an extended highway again to health.
‘Harvey is aware of that we’re right here for him every time he wants us,’ mentioned goalkeeper Alisson Becker. ‘We are an actual unit as a group. We have a good time collectively, and when an essential participant will get injured we’re injured collectively for him.
‘Everybody must be prepared for his or her time, even the gamers who will not be enjoying a lot thus far – they should be in good condition as a result of we are going to want everybody in the long run.’