Jurgen Klopp prepares for ‘the toughest’ group in the Champions League since he arrived at Liverpool and praised Milan ahead of the match. ‘They are doing well for 18 months, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the best ever’.
Liverpool prepare to host Milan at Anfield for the first time, but the match between the two European giants is another classic in the prestigious competition.
“I have more in mind than the two finals but if you think of any European battle, LFC v AC Milan is a must-watch,” Klopp said at a press conference. “Milan have not been in CL for years but are doing well for 18 months.
“They started this season good so it’ll be tough. There are a few nice games in this CL, this is one.”
“It’s about getting enough points to get through so we should not waste time. It’s a long time since we had a home game at Anfield [with fans].
“European nights at Anfield…I can’t wait to experience that again.”
The German then spoke about the possible threat from Milan veteran Ibrahimovic, but since Klopp spoke to the press, the Swede will reportedly miss the tie due to an injury.
Sky: Milan without Zlatan against Liverpool
But Klopp stressed that if Zlatan doesn’t play, former Chelsea and Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud will take his place, another ‘really good’ striker.
“Zlatan! What a player,” Klopp said. “I think I saw vids of him when he got injured and then early enough, he fought back with ‘lions don’t rest long’ or whatever.
“He’s a man for exceptional moments. If he’s not playing, Giroud will play. All really good players.
“Zlatan is one of the best players this game has ever seen. He knows that and he tells us. I like that. There is still fuel in the tank and he squeezes every drop out. He’s capable to play in every league and that is exceptional.”
The Liverpool coach was asked about the 2005 Final when Liverpool turned around a 0-3 deficit at the break and won the trophy.
The coach highlighted Jerzy Dudek’s saves against the Rossoneri attackers and claimed it was ‘one of the biggest sensations ever’ in football.
“Obviously that night I was not thinking about watching the 2nd half because apart from the LFC dressing room, everyone thought the game was decided. I remember the saves from Dudek. Incredible.
“After 3-0, Milan looked like they had decided it and then it became one of the biggest football sensations ever.”
Klopp was asked about Mohamed Salah’s future, as the Egypt international turned 29 in June, and stressed he’s sure the Liverpool star wants to stay at this level for ‘as long as possible’.
“I never spoke to him about how long he wants to play, but he has all the attributes to do that,” he said. “All these guys [Messi, Lewandowski] needed to be lucky with injuries.
“That’s very important. I’m sure he wants to be part of the game for as long as possible.”
Klopp pointed at a difficult group in the Champions League, including La Liga champions Atletico Madrid and Portuguese giants FC Porto.
“This is the strongest group we’ve had since I’ve been here,” he revealed. “At Dortmund, I had Man City and Real Madrid, a proper group.
“It keeps out two really good teams from knockouts and send one strong team to the Europa League.”