Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp does not see debutants Midtjylland as a ‘small club’ in this season’s Champions League.
Tuesday’s clash at Anfield will be the first time Liverpool and Midtjylland have ever met in a competitive fixture.
Six-time competition winners Liverpool host a club which were only founded in 1999 and are making their first appearance in the Champions League.
It has been billed as ‘David against Goliath’ by some of the media in Denmark, but Klopp does not see it that way.
‘We don’t see Midtjylland as a small club, we see Midtjylland as a proper challenger in this group,’ he said.
‘No one is part of the Champions League because they are nice cities, they are in the Champions League because they earned the right the year before.
‘There are no small teams in the Champions League, there are only teams who show how big they are on the pitch, not in the press conferences before games.
‘The 4-0 against Atalanta was not a 4-0 – it was because the score was 4-0 but Midtjylland were in the game. Tomorrow it will be a real challenge and we have to be ready for it, and we will try to be.’
Last season, Liverpool, as defending champions, were knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16 by Atletico Madrid and forced to watch the finale of the competition from their summer training camp.
Klopp is keen to avoid another early exit this time around and is ready to resume the club’s love affair with the competition.
‘It should not happen again, of course, but that is far away. We played a really good game against Atletico, but people tend to forget that when you lose,’ said Klopp.
‘The game in Madrid, we lost 1-0 there, but we were in the game and we played a superb game at home, which sounds crazy because we lost.
‘Performance-wise it was not a problem, it was a very strange time at that time and we had heard a lot of things the day before, and in the lead-up to the game at Anfield, that it would be the last game before the lockdown. The things around the game were completely different.
‘But we love the competition even though we got knocked out early. It is Liverpool in the Champions League at Anfield again tomorrow, even though there is no crowd, and it is a competition we love. I hope we showed that last week, too.
‘There are no guarantees but plenty of opportunities and we like opportunities, so let’s see where we go.’
Joel Matip, Naby Keita and Thiago Alcantara will not be fit in time to be involved against Midtjylland.
Klopp was not giving too much away regarding the timescales for their returns from injury but did reveal at his pre-match news conference ahead of Tuesday’s Group D game that the trio would miss out against the Danish club.
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