Jurgen Klopp tells Liverpool only ‘exceptional’ will do against Bayern Munich

Mohamed Salah will need to be at his best if the Reds are to get through to the last-eight. (AFP)
Updated 12 March 2019

Jurgen Klopp tells Liverpool only ‘exceptional’ will do against Bayern Munich

  • Reds draw 0-0 against German giants in first leg.
  • Klopp only too aware of threat Bayern pose.

MUNICH: Jurgen Klopp has warned Liverpool they will need to be at their brilliant best if they are to beat Bayern Munich and reach the Champions League quarterfinals.
Three weeks ago the Reds drew 0-0 at home to the German giants to leave the tie poised on a knife-edge heading into the clash at Bayern’s Allianz Arena. Klopp’s side know a score draw will send them through on away goals, but he is only too aware that their hosts are feeling confident, unbeaten in all competitions since the start of February and on top of the Bundesliga table for the first time this season.
That all adds up to one thing for the Liverpool boss — a “normal” performance will not be good enough to go through.
“We are strong enough to give them a proper game and that’s the only thing you can expect in a situation like that, in a good situation,” the German said.
“That’s what I’m thinking about — how can we cause them problems they have never had so far against other opponents?
“They are, of course, really strong opponents. But if we are at our best we can be exceptional. But we have to be, actually — if we play a normal game there we have no chance and then we should go out.
“But if we can push ourselves in a special mood and play a
proper football game, then
we have a proper chance and that’s all I need.”
Liverpool looked back to somewhere near their best in their 4-2 win over Burnley at the weekend. That followed four draws in six matches. Ironically a draw could well be enough for them tonight, but despite not winning the first leg at Anfield Klopp admitted the result was not all bad, saying: “With a 0-0 everything is clear. You have to win the game. That’s what you always want. In this specific case, you can win the game with a draw as well, but it’s all clear — we have to play a really good game.”
Having coached Borussia Dortmund — Bayern’s big rivals in Germany — he knows all about the side’s most potent weapon Robert Lewandowski having coached him at Dortmund. The Polish striker is the top scorer in the competition this season with eight goals, but Klopp has told his team they cannot focus solely on Lewandowski.
“Robert is a world-class striker, no doubt about that,” he said.
“The more you can avoid the passes and crosses to him, the better it is. That’s what we are all working on and that’s what we have to work on actually.
“Of course, it’s not only Robert.
“What makes it so exciting, you go through the Bayern team and think, ‘Wow, they are really strong’ and then you think, ‘Ah, we are not too bad as well!’ That’s cool.”
One thing for sure is that Bayern will attack more than they did at Anfield when they showed a defensive discipline not normally associated with the German club. Niko Kovac has backed his players to do what they need to do the make the last eight.
“If we want to progress, we have to win,” the Bayern boss said.
“It won’t be 0-0. We will see support in the stadium that we haven’t seen for a long time.
“These are the games all of my team, especially a player like Franck Ribery lives for. He still has it in him to leave his mark on games like this.”


Mayor of town in north Japan bemoans lack of Olympic funds

Updated 15 September 2019

Mayor of town in north Japan bemoans lack of Olympic funds

  • Tokyo is reportedly spending about $20 billion to prepare the city to host the games
  • Tokyo organizers have faced a series of hurdles as they prepare to host the games

TOKYO: The mayor of a town in northeastern Japan that will host Olympic soccer games says his city has received no funding from the central government that has promised to use the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to help in the reconstruction of the region.

The Japanese government and Tokyo 2020 organizers are hoping to use the Olympics to showcase Japan’s recovery from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Several Olympic events, including soccer and baseball, will be held in northeastern Japan.

But with less than a year to go before the opening ceremony, Yutaka Kumagai, the mayor of Rifu in Miyagi Prefecture, says his city has seen no funding from the central government.

“There is no help from the government, we don’t have any budget from them, none,” Kumagai said on Saturday. “Tokyo 2020 is said to be a symbol of the reconstruction but when it comes to the budget, we don’t have any budget from the Olympic games here in Rifu.”

Kumagai made the comments during a media tour of Miyagi Stadium, a 49,000-seat facility in Rifu that will host men’s and women’s football at the 2020 Olympics.

About 50,000 people are still displaced in the Tohoku region as of August, according to the Reconstruction Agency. Yoshiaki Suda, the mayor of Onagawa in Miyagi Prefecture, concurred with Kumagai. Like Rifu, Onagawa is a coastal city that sustained heavy destruction.

“We haven’t received any subsidy, even one yen, from the central government,” Suda said. “Whatever we do for the venues, for the hospitality for the Olympics, we have to do ourselves.”

Some media reports have made the claim that the Olympics have hampered the reconstruction efforts, taking workers away from the region to help with construction in Tokyo.

Japan is one of the most earthquake- and tsunami-prone areas in the world. On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 quake offshore caused a tsunami that triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The quake and tsunami heavily damaged coastal neighborhoods in northeastern Japan and took more than 18,000 lives.

Tokyo, which projected total costs of about $7.5 billion in its winning bid for the games in 2013, is reportedly spending about $20 billion to prepare the city to host the games.

A group of anti-Olympic activists, many from outside Japan, have held small protests and other events this summer under the Japanese title “Han-gorin no Kai” — which translates roughly to No Olympics. They oppose Olympic spending, which they say cuts into budgets for housing and environmental issues.

They also call for more money to rebuild Fukushima prefecture located northeast of Tokyo. Organizers say Fukushima is a main focus of the Olympics, staging baseball, softball and soccer games there to persuade the world the area is safe.

Tokyo organizers have faced a series of hurdles as they prepare to host the games. In August, Tokyo’s summer heat forced an Olympic women’s triathlon qualifying event to be shortened because of high temperatures that are likely to impact next year’s games.

Tsunekazu Takeda, the head of the Japanese Olympic Committee, was forced to quit earlier this year when he was implicated in a vote-buying scheme to land the games. He has denied wrongdoing, but acknowledged he signed off on about $2 million that French investigators allege went to buy votes.