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.”


What next for Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’

Updated 03 June 2020

What next for Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’

  • Restart to begin with 2 matches on June 17, to ensure every side played same number of games

LONDON: The Premier League's return is just two weeks away but there are plenty of details for the 20 clubs in the English top-flight to work out before competitive action resumes on June 17.

AFP Sport looks at what is on the agenda at the latest in a series of meetings between the clubs on Thursday.

There have been squabbles over how final league standings should be decided if the season cannot be completed but clubs need a contingency arrangement if a spike in coronavirus cases wrecks their plans.

Most of the teams in the bottom half of the table are reportedly pushing for relegation to be scrapped if the season is not completed on the field.

That still seems highly unlikely, with the English Football Association and English Football League both insisting on promotion and relegation throughout the pyramid.

A points-per-game formula is the most likely option and is part of the reason why the restart will begin with two matches on June 17, to ensure every side has played the same number of games.

Once the two outstanding games — Manchester City vs. Arsenal and Aston Villa vs. Sheffield United — have been played, all 20 sides will have nine games remaining.

No dates for other matches have yet been released, but fixtures are expected to continue from where they left off in March and be crammed into just five weeks ahead of the FA Cup final on August 1.

A long layoff, little time together in contact training and a gruelling schedule mean players' bodies will be pushed to the limits.

In an attempt to minimize injuries and fatigue, world governing body FIFA has allowed leagues to temporarily change their rules to allow five substitutes.

Chelsea have also reportedly proposed increasing the number of substitutes available from seven to nine.

However, critics have suggested those changes will simply play into the hands of the bigger clubs with deeper squads.

Premier League clubs appear to have won their battle to have games played in their own grounds rather than on neutral sites.

However, the UK's national lead for football policing confirmed last week that a "small number" of fixtures will take place at neutral venues.

That is likely to include any match that could see Liverpool crowned champions for the first time in 30 years, to try and avoid crowds gathering at Anfield.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is unconcerned by playing at neutral venues, with results from four rounds of Germany's Bundesliga showing no advantage for home sides in a closed-doors environment.

"We will not have the help from the crowd but no team will have that, so where is the advantage?" Klopp told the BBC.

"Whoever we play it is the same situation, which is why I'm not too worried about it."

The use of VAR could also be dispensed with for the rest of the season should the clubs wish to further cut the number of people required for games to go ahead.

However, the Premier League's CEO Richard Masters is keen for it to remain.

"VAR has its own social-distancing issues, but we think there is a way of completing the season with VAR," Masters told Sky Sports.