Jürgen Klopp met with media members in Auatria to discuss Liverpool's upcoming Europa League match with LASK. In the press conference, Klopp discussed his assessment of LASK as a club, being back in the Europa League and the possibility of younger players seeing time on the pitch.
Klopp has been a football manager long enough to know that nothing should ever be taken for granted. Even though the Europa League is a lower-tier competition when compared to the Champions League, there will still be high-quality play on the pitch and the match against LASK will be no different.
“I know we are favourites and you like to play the game of the big club and small club but we are really here to play football,” Klopp said. “We take this game seriously and we want to make the most of it. We are not arrogant, we want to compete and win here. LASK are very stable, they have a clear idea of football. They use the wings very well, good free-kicks – so it's not easy and if you let them play they will use the opportunity. I was in this role also when you can't lose, so we have to be prepared. We have to be as motivated as they are. We are excited to come here and play in the Europa League. We didn't watch the Champions League yesterday and didn't miss the melody. We deserved the Europa League like LASK too.”
“My first year I thought the Europa League was a bit too much for us until we came to the final, because we played every day pretty much,” Klopp said. “Wherever we had to fly to were long trips, coming back and trying to become a team somehow. The results helped obviously. It doesn't mean we will go to the final (this time). It just means we are better prepared and we enjoy it more to be here than we did that time because we had no clue what we had to expect.”
Competitions like the Europa League give managers a chance to put young talent on the pitch without those plates having to deal with the pressure of the Premier League. Just don't expect Klopp to give any hints of who those players might be before the match.
“Absolutely no information about that, you will have to wait until tomorrow to have a look at the line-up,” he said.” Enjoy it or don't! But accept it and then we go. We are here to compete, not to give opportunities, for nobody: not for ours and not for them. I don't know how good it can be but I'm really excited about the potential, yeah. I said that already weeks ago, that I really think it looks really good. It's now all about what we make of it.”
Even though some supporters may be disappointed with the Europa League, it's clear Klopp is not. He seems relaxed and as if he is really enjoying the experience, I'm sure the intensity will turn up tomorrow once the ball is put in play, but it's nice to see the boss having fun again after the ups and downs of last season.
“didn’t watch the Champions League yesterday and didn’t miss the melody. We deserved the Europa League like LASK too.”
“It doesn’t mean we will go to the final (this time). It just means we are better prepared and we enjoy it more to be here than we did that time because we had no clue what we had to expect.”