Liverpool must battle past ‘fighting’ Burnley before thinking about Bayern Munich, says Jurgen Klopp

Think of all those buccaneering displays last season from Liverpool in the Champions League. Five goals against Porto and Roma. Seven against Spartak Moscow and Maribor. The dismantling of Manchester City at Anfield.

But what does manager Jurgen Klopp refer to as ‘the game of the season’ from the 2017/18 campaign? A scrappy 2-1 win away to Burnley on New Year’s Day in the wind and rain at Turf Moor thanks to an injury-time goal from Estonian defender Ragnar Klavan.

That says everything about the respect which Klopp holds for the team from East Lancashire, who have posed him a consistent challenge ever since their paths first crossed. 

In August 2016, Liverpool went to Turf Moor and enjoyed 82% possession, but were still on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline. Then at Anfield in September 2017, 35 shots rained down on the Burnley goal, but the final result was a 1-1 draw.

It is also why Klopp holds a big significance for how his team came from 1-0 down to win 3-1 at Burnley in the fixture in early December, as they kept on Manchester City’s coat-tails at the top. A lot has happened since, but the Reds cannot afford anything less than three points from today’s high noon fixture.

“As a manager you have to make the best of the things you have and that is what Sean Dyche has been doing since I have been in England,” says Klopp.

“It is always difficult against them. We have a positive record overall but that night at Burnley this season was a big one. We were 1-0 down and had this chance to come back in the game, which was massive for us.

“Last season when we won 2-1 there, it was the game of the season for us. You have to be ready for a proper fight. Then you have a chance.    

“Everyone knows this is a really tough one because Burnley is a real fighting unit. They go for everything and they try for everything.”

Once the game with Burnley is out of the way, focus will then switch immediately to the Champions League where they travel to Germany for the second leg of their last-16 tie with Bayern Munich on Wednesday night.

The match is finely balanced at 0-0 after the game at Anfield, but Liverpool have not been helped by BT Sport’s decision to move the Burnley match back to today, whereas Bayern beat Wolfsburg 6-0 at home on Saturday in the Bundesliga.

Rogner Klavan scored the last-gasp winner against Burnley last season (Getty)

The situation is not ideal and Klopp reveals that the short turnaround has forced a change to their usual plans.

“Of course it is a difference,” he says. “If we had Saturday to Wednesday, Sunday morning would be recovery, a little session Monday, a proper session on Tuesday and then you play on Wednesday.

“Now it’s play Sunday, recovery Monday, and some kind of session Tuesday. Normally if you play away in Europe, you usually train in the stadium so you can do nothing.

“That is why we do it a bit different this time and we train here on Tuesday morning.

“This is not about us looking for excuses, because we don’t. We accept how it is but somebody else has to think about that. Somebody else who makes decisions.” 

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