Thursday marked the day we’d been waiting for - the results of the UEFA Champions League draw, in which Liverpool FC found out who they were due to face in the upcoming group stages when the tournament commences for the 2021-22 season.
And there’s some tough, familiar faces there.
“I laughed, to be honest, pretty loud because it is a tough group obviously,” Jürgen Klopp said of the draw from the training center.
“It’s Champions League, so that’s how it is, and you have to play the best teams in Europe, and obviously some of them are in our group!
“We played, I don’t know how often, already against Porto, so they will be waiting for us. We have obviously a little bit of [an] open bill with Atletico, and AC Milan, a historical one obviously.
“So, I think our supporters should be looking forward to it – we do, for sure.
“I know that people sit always at home and think, ‘Ah come on, that would be cool, then you have this team together and the worst of pot four and the worst of pot one’ and all this kind of stuff.
“So, we didn’t get that obviously but we’re still pretty ambitious and would like to show the really hard work from last year, qualifying for the Champions League, that it was worth it. That’s how we will play the games.”
While the exact dates for the fixtures have yet to be finalized, the tournament starts next month, with the group stages running into December. The one upside to this difficult, but fun, group is that there is not as much travel involved with Milan looking to be the furthest opponent the Reds will face. Now the time comes to think towards managing the squad - especially with the returns of many injured players from last season.
“We have a good team whoever is playing, that’s how it is,” Klopp continued.
“But it’s not that we play in the Champions League and have a look at who can play in the Champions League and then who can then play in the Premier League.
“No, we try to bring the best team always on the pitch – and that can have some probably physical reasons sometimes, and sometimes shape reasons. But we need the squad definitely for the whole year, that’s definitely the case.
“But now thinking about these games, my first idea was not to think about rotation or whatever, it’s about playing football and go for it.”
Personally, this writer is looking forward to another Porto match, and seeing Villarreal kick out Manchester United.