Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool are better prepared to face Paris Saint-Germain with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar than without, saying his players have watched “50,000 Mbappe YouTube videos.”
Both PSG stars were injury doubts for the Champions League clash at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday, having suffered knocks during the international break.
However, despite missing PSG’s weekend clash with Toulouse, both trained Monday and Tuesday with manager Thomas Tuchel declaring them “100 per cent fit” and ready to start against Liverpool.
While some might look at that as bad news for the Reds, Klopp is taking a positive view of the matter, saying it is easier for his team to prepare for the pair than it would be for two players who they do not know very well.
"It's actually more difficult to prepare when my players don't know the opponents,” Klopp told reporters. “They will have watched 500,000 YouTube videos of Mbappe."
Sadio Mane joined Neymar and Mbappe as a fitness question ahead of the match after he was struck by illness, but now also seems likely to feature Wednesday.
Klopp downplayed any suggestion of mind games between the two teams, saying there was no surprise on their side that the PSG stars are ready to go for the match.
Now for Klopp.
"There were no mind games. We always expected Mbappe and Neymar to play. Sadio was on the plane, I then got off the plane and took an hour and a half to get to the press conference. If nothing happens, he'll be fine." #LFC — Neil Jones (@neiljonesgoal) November 27, 2018
"There were no mind games,” he said. “We always expected Mbappe and Neymar to play.
“Sadio was on the plane, I then got off the plane and took an hour and a half to get to the press conference. If nothing happens, he'll be fine."
While PSG sit third in Group C behind Napoli and Liverpool, they have been dominant in Ligue 1, with the Parisians pulling in a perfect 14 wins from 14 games thus far domestically.
European competition has typically been where PSG struggle, but Klopp is wary not to allow the hosts to settle into a similar dominance at home, and wants his side to be “ugly.”
"PSG are so dominant in the league, we have to make sure they are not that dominant here. The boys are 100 per cent focused, and hopefully we can see that tomorrow night.
"Paris know that we are not easy to play. We have to be at our best, but if we are, then we are not nice to play against. That's what we have to be, really ugly to play against.
"What do I expect? I think PSG are a team that will go for a win. They are of a very high level. Tuchel is a very creative manager, who always works on solutions. That means we have to be prepared for different scenarios."
Liverpool are in a near-must win against PSG thanks to a poor performance last Champions League matchday in a loss to Red Star.
When asked what Tuchel could do to replicate the Serbian side’s success, Klopp resorted to a bit of humour to deflect the question.
"I am not in the position to give advice to other teams,” he said. “Maybe you can ask me for advice on how to win finals....that would be funny as well, eh?"