LONDON – Jürgen Klopp expects a difficult encounter against Bayern Munich in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League last-16 tie, despite the German side’s somewhat unstable set of recent results, the Liverpool head coach said on Monday.
Anfield stadium will welcome the Germans on Tuesday night in the full knowledge that Bayern has conquered the Bundesliga title the past six seasons in a row.
However, the German side has lost points this season because of defeats and draws, and is currently chasing standings leader Borussia Dortmund.
“After being six years the dominator of the (German) league it was clear this year would be different,” Klopp said at a press conference. “To become the champion you need to have the desire of a newcomer combined with the quality of a real contender.”
“At the beginning of the season maybe they did not have that but now they are chasing the situation,” he added.
“From my point of view that makes them even more dangerous,” added Klopp, the former coach of Dortmund. “Let’s enjoy the game together. We are a really strong side and that is what we have to show.”
Liverpool’s coach also stressed that he, and even any other coach, is living the season match by match.
Klopp explained that he and the team remain focused on Tuesday’s clash versus Munich, and did not think about the next match against Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday.
Regarding the injured players in his squad, Klopp revealed that Croatia defender Dejan Lovren’s participation was still in doubt, while Switzerland winger Xherdan Shaqiri and Netherlands midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum had taken part in Sunday’s practice.
“Gini (Wijnaldum) trained and looked really well. Shaq did a lot, so it will be close, we have to see,” Klopp said. “Dejan, I actually have to wait minute by minute if there is a chance or not.”
Liverpool – who has a game in hand – is currently tied with title-holder Manchester City atop the Premier League standings with 65 points each; however, the Reds are in second place on goal differential.