Jurgen Klopp reacts to Liverpool’s ‘very interesting’ Champions League draw

Jurgen Klopp is looking forward to Liverpool’s new Champions League campaign (Picture: Getty)

Jurgen Klopp has described Liverpool’s Champions League group as ‘really interesting’ but admits he will have to take a ‘closer look’ at lesser-known opponents Genk and Salzburg.

Liverpool will be desperate to defend their sixth European title which they won last June and kick off their new campaign alongside Napoli, Genk and Salzburg in Group E.

Europe’s heavyweights eagerly awaited their fate in Monaco on Thursday evening and the draw threw up a number of mouth-watering ties to look forward to in the coming months.

Last year’s runners-up Tottenham have been drawn against Bayern Munich, Olympiacos and Red Star Belgrade in Group B, while Premier League champions Manchester City will take on Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb and Atalanta in Group C.

Elsewhere, Chelsea were grouped with Ajax, Valencia and Lille in a strong-looking Group H.

Liverpool were drawn against Napoli, Genk and Salzburg in Group E (Picture: Getty)

For the second successive year, Liverpool and Napoli have been drawn together at the group stage and Klopp is looking forward to the challenge of facing the Italian club once again.

Last season, Liverpool lost 1-0 in Naples before beating the Serie A outfit with the same scoreline at Anfield.

Asked for his reaction to Liverpool’s draw, Klopp told the club’s official website: ‘Napoli again! I don’t know how often I’ve now played against Napoli, but they’re obviously a very experienced side.

‘I will need now to have another, closer look at Genk and Salzburg, but I already know they are very young, very exciting and very fresh, so it will be interesting, 100 per cent. I don’t think I’ve ever played against Salzburg or Genk, so that’s interesting.

‘It’s how it always is, it’s not an easy group and not a group where we can hide behind anybody. We have to try everything to go through, but we are really looking forward to it like always.

Liverpool will be looking to defend their 2018/19 title (Picture: Getty)

‘Now we know the opponents, when we were walking off the pitch from training I immediately spoke with Divock [Origi] about playing Genk!

‘We will do our analysis and research on all three teams, but we know they all played exceptional seasons last year.

‘Of course, Salzburg are famous for bringing through new players, like they did with Sadio [Mane] and Naby [Keita] – they’ve found a lot of others, too. It will be really interesting.’

Jurgen Klopp admits he must take a ‘closer look’ at Genk and Salzburg (Picture: Getty)

Klopp added: ‘Napoli are just a really good side.

‘The home game we played against Napoli was one of the best games we played because it was so rock solid.

‘It was not allowed to concede against Napoli with the strength they have in counter-attacks. The way they play is clear and it’s really good.

‘In the pre-season games, when we won 5-0 in Dublin I was not interested in the result. Now this year we lost 3-0 and that’s not too interesting, but you see just how good they are. They were not complete, we were not complete, but they are a really good side.

Carlo Ancelotti took over the reins at Napoli this summer (Picture: Getty)

‘Carlo [Ancelotti] has such experience and has won the competition so often. When they went out last year, it was pretty close – Ali made a big save in the last seconds, so they will remember that and it will be emotional, I am pretty sure.

‘With the other two teams, I know how people are and immediately they will say these are the two “smaller teams” of the group. They are not.

‘I am not sure how it is for Genk, but for Salzburg they fought for so long and so hard to be part of the Champions League, so they will fight with whatever they have. They will have 30,000 in their stadium who will show how long they were waiting for it. That’s the group, so now let’s prepare for it.’

Virgil Van Dijk was named the UEFA Player’s of the Year (Picture: Getty)

Shortly after the draw, Virgil van Dijk picked up his Uefa Men’s Player of the Season award after an outstanding European campaign for Liverpool last term.

‘I need to thank my teammates, without them I would not have achieved what I have achieved,’ he said.

‘It’s been a long road and it’s part of my journey. I’m very proud to get this trophy.

‘It’s credit to everyone who has helped me.’

Van Dijk added: ‘I wasn’t 18 and went straight to the top. I had to work every step of the way.

‘I looked up to Ronaldinho a lot growing up.

‘He enjoyed his play with all his tricks, it was a great feeling to watch him play.’

The Champions League group stage draw in full…

Group A

Group A


Real Madrid

Club Brugge


Group B

Bayern Munich



Red Star Belgrade

Group C

Manchester City

Shakhtar Donetsk

Dinamo Zagreb


Group D


Atletico Madrid

Bayer Leverkusen

Lokomotiv Moscow

Group E





Group F


Borussia Dortmund

Inter Milan

Slavia Prague

Group G





Group H





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