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Klopp readies Liverpool for ‘heavyweight world title fight’ as Man City clash draws ever closer

17:42 SAST 2019/11/05
Jurgen Klopp Liverpool
The Reds boss is eager to avoid looking too far ahead, with it his opinion that every game in the Champions League needs to be given serious attention

Jurgen Klopp has called on Liverpool to take their campaign one “heavyweight world title fight” at a time, with a Champions League clash against Genk currently more important than a meeting with Manchester City.

The Reds are due to play host to Premier League title rivals at Anfield on Sunday but, before attention turns to that game, the reigning European champions have a continental outing to contend with.

Klopp is eager to ensure that focus remains locked on a home date with Genk, with the Reds having made hard work of progressing through the Champions League group stage last season.

With that in mind, the Liverpool boss wants to see his side take every game seriously, with it important that positivity and momentum is maintained in midweek before City register on the radar.

The German tactician told the Reds’ matchday programme: “There is work for us to do and we cannot and must not have our focus anywhere but here. We must be in the moment.

“We saw just how tight the group was last season. The very last kick of the very last group game could have put us out. If you, for even half a second, lose sight of how hard this competition is and how precious each and every point is, trust me, we will not have the experiences like we enjoyed the last couple of seasons.

“A Champions League game, be it group or knockout, is a heavyweight world title fight every time. Every team you face has the quality to beat you and to knock you to the canvas. These teams don’t just have a puncher’s chance, they are winners with a winner’s approach.

“If you have the wrong attitude or the wrong mindset you will lose. There is no question of this.

“I’m not particularly interested what happens elsewhere in the other groups but I am pretty sure it is the same in all of them. The final answer for group standings will almost certainly go to the last game again.

“I have no worries about our approach because I know this team and this club is streetwise enough to know what is needed. We have that institutional knowledge ingrained in us that a Champions League night, be it at Anfield or away, is an occasion to relish and respect. As a club we don’t take these nights for granted and that must show in our performance.

“And by ‘our performance’ I mean all of us. Players, management, staff and supporters. We all come here and show our best face.

“Genk absolutely will – so if we don’t, we risk our future in a competition we are in love with. If last season taught us anything it is that the European Cup isn’t just won on the night of the final. It is won in each and every minute you play in the tournament.”

Liverpool have taken six points from three Champions League games in 2019-20, with that return leaving them second in Group E behind Serie A heavyweights Napoli.