Champions League: Liverpool prepare for Milan in opener of ‘proper group’ | Champions League

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With Milan in city, surprisingly for the primary time at Anfield, it was comprehensible that Istanbul cropped up a number of occasions throughout Jürgen Klopp’s press convention on Tuesday but in addition one thing of a diversion from the duty in the Liverpool supervisor’s hand. Group B, full with champions, historical past and above all pedigree, permits little time to reminisce.

Liverpool and Milan have by no means met exterior a Champions League ultimate and a contest between two golf equipment topped European champions 13 occasions in whole appears a becoming approach to open a gaggle of uncommon stature and intrigue.

The Italian membership haven’t competed at this degree for seven years however gained twice as many away video games as house matches when ending second in Serie A final season (16-8) and have misplaced solely as soon as in 11 away video games in all competitions.

Klopp sees no margin for error when plotting a Champions League course that additionally includes discovering a well past Atlético Madrid and Porto. It is a four-team tremendous league, if you’ll, however with danger, enchantment and sporting integrity.

“This is the strongest group we have had since I am at Liverpool, no doubt about that,” stated Klopp. “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: ‘Oh my God, how will we get through?’ This is a proper group as well.

“What does it do for the competition? It kicks out two really good teams from the knockout stages and it will deliver one really strong football team into the Europa League as well, that’s for sure. I never understand when people talk about changes to the Champions League. It is just not my thing. I like it how it is and this group obviously shows that there are no games where people think: ‘Do I really want to watch that?’

Jürgen Klopp said Group B is ‘the strongest group we have had since I am at Liverpool’.
Jürgen Klopp said Group B is ‘the strongest group we have had since I am at Liverpool’. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

“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, then hopefully the FA Cup later in the season. But it’s exactly what we wanted. We play Milan, Atlético, Porto – unbelievable stadiums, great crowds, passionate fanbases. It’s exactly how you want football. Now we got it, so let’s deal with it.”

The group opener will likely be Liverpool’s first European sport in entrance of a capability Anfield crowd since 11 March final yr when, with the pandemic underneath means in Europe, Atlético and their followers had been allowed to journey to Merseyside for a last-16 victory that came about days at first got here to a halt.

“It is all about getting enough points to get through the group,” Klopp stated. “We better not waste time. We should start with that tomorrow night. It is a long time ago that we had a Champions League game at home and the opportunity to experience again the atmosphere that Anfield is able to produce. We have spoken a lot in the past about European nights at Anfield and I can’t wait to experience that now. I am really looking forward to it.”

Quick Guide

Liverpool v Milan – possible groups

Show

Liverpool (4-3-3) Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Jota, Mané

Milan (4-2-3-1)  Maignan; Calabria, Tomori, Romagnoli, Hernandez; Tonali, Kessie; Florenzi, Díaz, Leão; Rebic

Referee Szymon Marciniak (Pol)

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Stefano Pioli, Milan’s head coach, will likely be with out Zlatan Ibrahimovic regardless of the veteran marking his newest harm comeback on Sunday with a purpose in the 2-0 defeat of Lazio. Pioli stated: “Zlatan wanted to join the match [against Lazio] and of course after the match he had some inflammation. We hoped he could play but he still had pain so we don’t want to risk tomorrow as it’s a very important match and we have so many matches. We are very well prepared.”

Liverpool’s harm focus stays on Harvey Elliott, whose breakthrough season was cruelly interrupted when he sustained a dislocated ankle at Leeds on Sunday. The 18-year-old underwent profitable surgical procedure in London on Tuesday, whereas Leeds have introduced they’d enchantment in opposition to the purple card proven to the defender Pascal Struijk for his problem on the midfielder.

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“I spoke to him the night of the game and he was in the best possible place,” Klopp stated of Elliott. “He accepted already that he would be out for a while.”

As for his recollections of 2005, Klopp stated: “I was thinking about not watching the second half because everyone in the world apart from a few people in the Liverpool dressing room thought the game might be decided … And then it became one of the biggest football sensations ever and I was really happy that I didn’t switch the telly off.”