Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has discussed the massive strength and depth of the Champions League as well as his side’s chances of retaining their European crown.
The Reds have reached back-to-back Champions League finals over the past two seasons, winning last season’s showpiece in Madrid against Tottenham, but Klopp believes it will be difficult for his side to repeat the feat with the tournament having never been stronger.
The German insists that while his side will, of course, be aiming to defend their title, he believes Europe’s leading sides will be improved this time around after English domination in the European tournaments last season.
“I will have no problem with it [reaching the final] if it happens again, but at this moment I am not too sure it will,” he said. “We have the same chance like everyone else, but that is all, and I don’t see us, the English teams, dominating. I really think a lot of teams have a good chance.”
The manager believes there is no need for a European Super League because the Champions League is already one in effect and he expects Liverpool to be in for a tough run because so many high-class sides are only second seeds. The leading bookmakers also believe it will be tough for Liverpool to defend their European crown and have Klopp’s side at third favourites to lift the trophy at the end of the season. Liverpool are priced at 5/1 if you take one of Bet365 new customer offers that are available – with other bookies having them as short as 4/1. Either way, Klopp is agreeing with the online bookmaking community.
Is Klopp only trying to save himself?
Klopp is well known for his vocal brilliance and recurring humility but the real reality of it all is that they’re all mind games.
Taking all happenings into consideration, Liverpool didn’t see any incoming or exit of a “big” player over the course of the summer and with that in mind – they’re not exactly stronger but did not lose quality as a unit as well.
The manner in which Liverpool dispatched Arsenal over the weekend easily showed they still have the ruthlessness and aggression that was key to their success last season.
Also notable is the fact that a lot of their players have stepped up their games with Joel Matip and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain headlining that aspect.
So if anything is to go by, Klopp’s side are still that same refreshed side that won the Champions League.
Throwback to last season when Liverpool were coming into the Nou Camp 3-0 down and without Mohamed Salah.
Klopp before the game literally said the match was almost impossible and they will be lucky to grab a goal let alone four against a Messi inspired Barcelona.
We know how that story ended and Divock Origi turned out to be the main hero with the decisive goal. Leading to another point – Liverpool is a relentless side that can thrive with or without anybody.
It may seem Salah or Mane scores majority of the goals but without either of them, the whole squad always manages to work hard and someone always steps up to fill those shoes where necessary.
Another good example is the fact that the Reds played Arsenal without Alisson(the best goalkeeper in the world) but had Adrian who surprisingly denied Nicolas Pepe clear cut chances on one or two occasions.
If you think Liverpool won’t go far in the Champions League this season, you might be wrong cause for starters it’s safe to say they are most certainly in the round of 16 already.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 29, 2019
Looking at the teams they were drawn with(Napoli, Genk and Salzburg), if form and quality is taken into account, Napoli look like the only team with real threat to steal points off Liverpool and at worst case the Reds will end up finishing second.
With many top favourites pitted against each other in the same groups (Barcelona and Dortmund, Bayern and Tottenham, PSG and Real Madrid, Juventus and Atletico Madrid), you get the feeling that one or more of these top sides will lose out on getting to the next round.
Leaving the reality that should Liverpool then win their round of 16 tie against any opponent, they will be in there with a good chance of retaining their crown.
Jurgen Klopp is a good coach and has mastered the art of bringing out the best of his players wherever through his statements.
But this time perhaps it might just actually be with the intent of saving his own face.
Going from last season the Reds are highly backed to go all the way again and it seems like anything short of a semi-final slot at least will leave Klopp looking like a failure in the UCL.
It’s still too early to talk about any side’s chances but Klopp has to realize we know Liverpool have all it takes to retain their crown.