Jürgen Klopp: I know Liverpool supporters want the Premier League over the Champions League
(Getty Images - Alan Martin)

Jürgen Klopp: I know Liverpool supporters want the Premier League over the Champions League

The Reds head-coach revealed that for Liverpool supporters the Premier League remains the priority but called for the fans to make Anfield a 'cauldron' ahead of special tie with Bayern Munich.

joshuakerr97
Joshua Kerr

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp personified the standard he has set throughout the tenure of his Anfield reign when he was asked whether he would prefer the Premier League or the Champions League.

It represents the measure of how far this Reds team have progressed since Klopp took charge in 2015 that the Premier League still takes focus even on nights where Liverpool host the German champions Bayern Munich in the last-16 of the Champions League.

During his Monday afternoon press conference, Klopp couldn't escape from the luring title credentials already set in stone as the German boss was asked to consider the club's current priorities.

A source claimed that: “One fan said he would happily roll over and allow Bayern to tickle Liverpool’s belly if you could guarantee the Premier League,” Klopp was informed.

“I don’t know how to answer that,” Klopp replied.

“It’s difficult for me. If we to decide for all Liverpool fans they’d say the Premier League.

"That's clear. But, now we play Champions League and we have to make sure that we do our best for tomorrow night.

"Thank God we don’t have to decide today and we will not know today or tomorrow, the only thing we can do is give our all and play passionate football, lively football, the kind people expect when they come to Anfield.

"We expect a good atmosphere but we know the part we have to play. It will be outstanding tomorrow.”

Klopp: The story so far is a nice one, but not finished yet

The fact Klopp can't escape hypothetical scenarios even on a night where two European super heavyweights prepare to take arms represents the outstanding work the 51-year-old has done in his three-and-a-half-year spell with the club.

There was a time where Liverpool struggled to break into the top four and secure Champions League football. Those days feel long gone with the Reds maintaining speed with one of the Premier League's greatest ever teams whilst simultaneously mixing it up with the best in Europe.

“Munich from my point of view makes them more dangerous, more a threat because this is a competition historically they are always good but we have our aims, we want to be strong," said Klopp when previewing the Tuesday night first-leg.

"In Germany, a lot of people are talking about the atmosphere at Anfield and talking about maybe we are the most emotional club In world football. 

"Emotion, in my opinion, is a positive thing so let's show that tomorrow, lets make it very lively on the pitch, not the stands and let's enjoy the game together. It’s a tough one from a very experienced team but we are strong as well. And that's what we have to show.”

"The best thing we have done since we’ve been together is that we are a competitor again.

"That's not enough but is an important step in a competitive league, and in the Champions League.

"Qualifying the second year in a row - hopefully, the third this season - is not usual because it didn’t happen too often in the past and then being part of the competition where people think we can beat Bayern that's a big thing but we have to prove that. 

“The story so far is a nice one, but not finished, yet.”

The journey for Klopp and his players has been a rollercoaster to say the least, but one the fans hope will never end. The latest challenge in front of Klopp has already set its own difficulties with Dejan Lovren struggling with a hamstring issue and Virgil Van Dijk suspended for one match meaning Fabinho is in line to deputise at centre-back.

"Dejan we have to see", said Klopp.

"Yesterday he had a clearing session but we have to see how he reacted."

Reunited with a former foe

The encounter also presents the reunion of two great enemies since Klopp's Borussia Dortmund days where the German mastered two Bundesliga triumphs over the European giants.

There is still a rich and personal history with the club for Klopp - who was shortlisted in 2008 to take the job when in charge of FC Mainz before instead opting for Jurgen Klinsmann.

Klopp enjoyed two domestic titles at the expense of his bitter rivals and even led Dortmund to the first ever all-German Champions League final against his old enemy as the Liverpool manager reunites with his former Nemesis on Tuesday night.

“It’s not even a little bit personal for me,” said Klopp.

“The story, Uli Hoeness or whoever brought it up, in 2008 we had a phone call, or two phone calls actually. I have known it since 2008 but never told anyone. Then they ask me and I say ‘yes, that’s how it was’.

“There was never any negative thing for Bayern, but when we played each other and when they bought our players, how can I be happy and say ‘yes, great idea?’ 

“That was not nice for us at Dortmund, but it is part of the business and it was a long time ago. I was never able to be angry for a long time. In these moments I was not happy. 

“It is a big club, it was a big competition for us in Germany. I wish Dortmund would be the champions of course, but that’s pretty much all.”

 

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