• Klopp buoyed for UCL challenge

    Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp

    Liverpool were drawn to face Hoffenheim in the Champions League play-off round as Jurgen Klopp prepares for another return to his homeland.

    Jurgen Klopp will not be taking Liverpool’s Champions League participation for granted, after they were drawn to face Hoffenheim in the play-off round, which the German claims to have predicted.

    The Reds will head to Germany – from where they have just returned from the Audi Cup – for the first leg on August 15, and will welcome Julian Nagelsmann’s side to Anfield the following week.

    Klopp knows Hoffenheim well from his time in charge of Mainz and Borussia Dortmund, and will not be taking the Bundesliga side lightly.

    He told Liverpool’s official website after Friday’s draw in Nyon: “Very interesting. Actually, it was exactly what I expected when I had a look – if there’s a choice, we always seem to take the German team. Sorry!

    “It was clear from the first moment when we knew who we could face that there would be no easy game. It’s Hoffenheim and that’s for sure not an easy game.

    “But we should always not forget what they thought in the moment they saw the draw – it’s not the best thing they could get.

    “I’m completely fine with it, happy to know and now we can start preparing. [They are a] strong side, how everybody can imagine. When you are fourth in Germany you are a strong side.

    “It’s a very interesting club. They have a lot of really good young players. They lost two of them – [Sebastian] Rudy and [Niklas] Sule to Bayern – and had a little change. [They have] a very young manager, just 30 years old, a very talented man.

    “That’s a real challenge, but I’m looking forward to it. First we’ll play Watford, but at the same time we’ll start preparing for Hoffenheim and it’s really exciting.”

    The match pits Roberto Firmino against his old club.

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