Sunday, September 26, 2021

Klopp knows Liverpool can´t switch off in Champions League group ahead of Milan reunion

SoccerNews in English Premier League 14 Sep 2021

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Jurgen Klopp was one of many viewers who considered stopping watching Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League final win over Milan at half-time but knows his side won’t be able to switch off in a difficult group this season.

Liverpool have been pitted against Milan, Atletico Madrid, who knocked the Reds out two seasons ago, and Porto in Group B.

They welcome the Rossoneri to Anfield on Wednesday in a rematch of the final in Istanbul where Liverpool fought back from 3-0 at half-time to defeat Milan on penalties.

And Klopp is sure to have substantially more interest in this encounter than he did during the interval of Liverpool’s most famous European triumph, with his side set to play a Champions League clash in front of fans for the first time since their loss to Atletico back in 2020.

Asked about his experience watching the 2005 showpiece, Klopp told a media conference: “I was thinking about not watching the second half because everybody in the world that thought this game might be decided.

“What I remember is some incredible saves of [Jerzy] Dudek, he had to keep them in the game, Milan could have scored more.

“It became one of the biggest football sensations ever. I was really glad I didn’t switch the telly off.”

After years of prolonged struggle, Milan are back competing for top honours in Italian football under Stefano Pioli.

They finished second to Inter in Serie A last season having led for much of the campaign and boast three wins from three to start the new season.

Porto are Champions League regulars who knocked out Juventus in the last 16 in 2020-21 while Atletico will be hoping to finally add the continent’s top prize to the LaLiga title they won last term, having taken 10 points from four games to start their defence.

On the task facing his side in the group, Klopp said: “It is a difficult group. I don’t think when we saw it one of us said it was a great group. It’s tough, come on. Atletico, Porto, usually champions in Portugal. Milan, big history in the best moment for years, that’s proper Champions League.

“We worked really hard for being part of that and that’s what we get. It’s a long time ago that we had a Champions League game at home, we now have an opportunity to experience the atmosphere Anfield is able to produce. We spoke a lot in the past about European nights at Anfield and I can’t wait to experience that.

“This group will be exciting from the first second to the last second. In between these games we have a very important competition but it’s exactly what we wanted. Unbelievable stadiums, great crowd, all that kind of stuff. It’s exactly how we want football.”

Liverpool will be without Harvey Elliott for the long term after he suffered a serious ankle injury in Sunday’s win at Leeds United, with Klopp confirming he will have surgery on Tuesday.

“I spoke to him after the game, he was in the best possible place. He knew would out for a while,” said Klopp. “Today he is in London and will have the surgery today. That is the next step and we wait for news on that.”

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