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Klopp fumes at claims from 'Manchester United pundits' that Champions League exit could benefit Liverpool

3:56 AM MYT 13/03/2019
Jurgen Klopp Liverpool 2018-19
The Reds face Bayern Munich in the last-16 second leg on Wednesday but their fixture list would be alleviated if they went out of Europe

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has taken a swipe at Gary Neville after the former Manchester United defender claimed exiting the Champions League would assist the club's Premier League bid.

The eight-time title winner at Old Trafford said it would be in the Reds' "favour" to go out of the competition at the hands of Bayern Munich in the last-16, to ensure their star players were fresh for the final eight games of the campaign.

Defending champions Manchester City lead Liverpool by a point but Pep Guardiola's side are still involved in Europe's premier club competition and the FA Cup.

But Klopp denies it would be beneficial either way for his side to be knocked out on Wednesday, when they face the Bundesliga champions at the Allianz Arena. 

"I don't think that any other coach or manager in the world has to answer this question when they play in the Champions League," he told the media.

"It is really unique. It only happens when you're the Liverpool manager and the pundits come from Manchester United.

"You asked us when we went out of the FA Cup, Carabao Cup whether it was better for us. We don't see it like this. We wanted to go through but we didn't.

"We are focused on this game and even if it would harm us, we could not change it.

"The guys who write down this question, they try to prove that it is possible to use their ideas in real life, not only in the studio."

Goalkeeper Alisson took a similar view to Klopp, and insisted Liverpool would not be giving preferential treatment to either competition.

"We can choose what we go for," the Brazilian stated. "But we choose both. Two big competitions. The Premier League it is a long time that Liverpool don't win. We will fight for both.

After a cagey and goalless first leg, Liverpool welcome back Virgil van Dijk after he missed the opening game due to suspension but Naby Keita is out.

Trent Alexander-Arnold is available after going off against Burnley, while James Milner and Dejan Lovren have travelled despite recent injury concerns.

The Croatian has only played twice in 2019 for the Merseysiders and therefore will start the game from the bench.

"Dejan Lovren will definitely be in the squad, but he won't be able to play the full 90 or 120 minutes," the German added. "It's reassuring to have a player like him on the bench though."