Jurgen Klopp downplays pressure ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League play-off against Hoffenheim

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Jurgen Klopp has called on his players to “enjoy the opportunity” in Tuesday night’s Champions League play-off first-leg encounter at Hoffenheim.

Klopp knows full well the strengths of the German side, who finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season, having faced the side 16 times with Mainz and Borussia Dortmund.

Liverpool will go into the match against a side who were only one of three teams to go unbeaten at home in their domestic league last season, without Philippe Coutinho whose head has been turned by Barcelona.
“Yes, it is big because we can go in the Champions League,” said Klopp ahead of the meeting at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena. “We have to be at our best – but I am confident we will be.

“You can see the opportunity in different ways. We have already qualified for European competition which we didn’t have last year.

“I know now people will say: ‘Yes, but who wants to play in the Europa League?’ Manchester United didn’t want to play it last year but they won it and now they are in the Champions League. Things happen like that.

“We can either allow the pressure on this game to increase over the next 24 hours to the extent that we cannot walk any more or we still try to enjoy this opportunity. I think that is the best way to do it.”
Hoffenheim are making their debut appearance in European competition while their opponents, five times winners of the Champions League, are making their 182nd in the European Cup in its various forms but Klopp is not taking anything for granted.

“I’m not really interested in the experience my opponent has,” said the Liverpool manager. “We are together 20 months and we always try to give good analysis to our players and analysis that is the truth.
“We show them images that speak for themselves. We know about their quality.”

Liverpool started their Premier League campaign with a 3-3 draw at Watford in a match where defensive frailties resurfaced once again but Klopp insists his side are “in a good moment.”Euro Soccer Bonus

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