Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has admitted that the Reds’ Champions League group this season, featuring AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and Porto, is the toughest he has faced at the club.
While in charge at Borussia Dortmund, Klopp was faced with a group that included Manchester City, Real Madrid and Ajax. But rather than fear a ‘Group of Death’, the Liverpool boss relishes it.
“This is the strongest group we have had since I have been at Liverpool, there is no doubt about that,” Klopp is quoted as saying by the Liverpool Echo.
“In 2013 at Dortmund, we had a real ‘Champions League’ group as well. We had Man City, Real Madrid and Ajax, which was a proper group where people said ‘my God, how will we get through?’”
A vintage Dortmund side ended up topping that group after overcoming those fierce early tests and going all the way to the final. Klopp will expect that his Liverpool team can also rise to the challenges posed by reigning La Liga champions Atletico, a resurgent Milan and a consistent Porto.
“What does it do for the competition? It kicks out two really good teams, it will deliver one really strong football team into the Europa League as well, that’s for sure!” he continued.
This group will be exciting from the first second to the last second. Nothing will be decided early in this group. That keeps us on our toes, and in between these games we have a very important competition as well, playing Premier League and League Cup, hopefully FA Cup later in the season.
“It’s exactly what we wanted, we play Milan, Atletico, Porto, unbelievable stadiums, great crowds, passionate fanbases. It’s exactly how we like football, and now we have it, so let’s deal with it.”
Liverpool start their Champions League campaign with a repeat of the 2005 and 2007 finals as Milan, back in the competition for the first time since 2013/14, visit Anfield on Wednesday night.
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