'We are ready for a proper fight' - Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool ready to dig deep against Salzburg
Jurgen Klopp says his Liverpool players will "run for their lives" to defend their European title as he prepared for a lucrative group decider against Salzburg.
Klopp arrived at the Red Bull Arena in what he called "competition mode", stressing Liverpool's European ambitions had not been diluted by last year's victory, nor compromised by a demanding fixture list.
Please log in or register with Independent.ie for free access to this article.
"We are a group which is in the most intense period of our lives and we will try to enjoy it. It is difficult, no doubt about that, but that is nothing that can stop us," the manager said.
Such are the stakes, Klopp and captain Jordan Henderson suggested it was the biggest match of the season so far. There could be anywhere between £40-60million (€47.5m-€71m) at stake if Liverpool make the latter stages again. They face a bullish opponent, 19-year-old striker Erling Haaland pledging to score a hat-trick in a 3-1 win.
Celebrating "We are ready for a proper fight," Klopp said. "Two weeks ago, Napoli were celebrating the point at Liverpool thinking they 'only' play Genk in the next game. Salzburg won against Genk and were celebrating they have the chance to play against Liverpool. Two weeks later, Napoli know they must play against Genk and Salzburg must play against Liverpool.
"We have to make Salzburg realise after all the positive things... bang... it's difficult. It's Liverpool. It should not be easy."
Klopp was in feisty mood as he underlined his respect for the Austrian opponents. He took exception to a reference to the reverse meeting - a 4-3 win at Anfield - being treated like "a friendly" by Salzburg players, especially when asked how he would ensure his players would not demonstrate complacency.
"We want to go until the end again. We have nothing better to do at the end of May," Klopp added. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
Red Bull Salzburg v Liverpool,
Live, VM Sport/BT Sport 3, 5.55