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Klopp expects no easy ride in Champions League defence

Klopp expects no easy ride in Champions League defence
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Liverpool v Arsenal - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - August 24, 2019 Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp gestures after the match REUTERS/Phil Noble -
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PHIL NOBLE(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Juergen Klopp thinks Liverpool face a daunting task in their bid to retain the Champions League title this season given the “crazy” depth of quality in the competition.

Klopp has led Liverpool to back-to-back Champions League finals but is adamant that their impressive recent track record does not make them the title favourites.

“I will have no problem with it (reaching the final) if it happens again, but at this moment I am not too sure it will,” the German coach told British media.

“We have the same chance like everyone else, but that is all, and I don’t see us, the English teams, dominating. I really think a lot of teams have a good chance.”

Liverpool are among the top seeds in Pot One along with Chelsea, Barcelona, Manchester City, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Paris St Germain and Zenit St Petersburg for the Champions League group stage draw, which takes place later on Thursday.

The quality of teams in the second pot – which includes Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund – have convinced Klopp there is no need to change the format of the competition when the current cycle ends in 2024.

“I don’t think there was ever a stronger Pot Two. It is just crazy,” the German added. “They should all be in Pot One, but there is not enough space there.

“I don’t think there was ever a stronger Pot Three. If people really think about this kind of Super League, then you don’t need it. That’s it. Then Pot Four you can get RB Leipzig – wow!”

Klopp expects Liverpool to face stiff competition from a number of heavyweights as they bid for a seventh European crown.

While Juventus, Barcelona, PSG and Dortmund looked to fine-tune their squads in the transfer market, Real Madrid and Bayern have recruited heavily.

“Look at the squad Borussia Dortmund has and tell me we are stronger than them. That is incredible,” Klopp added.

“There are a lot of quality teams: Juventus will be there, PSG will be there. Real Madrid? Do you think they gave up already? Bayern Munich now finally brought in (Ivan) Perisic and (Philippe) Coutinho which is a big boost.”

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Nick Mulvenney)

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