It’s becoming evident that if Liverpool are to claim silverware this season, it will be have to be in the most testing manner possible. Despite a flawless record of three wins and no goals conceded, it is clear that the Reds — and in particular their venomous front line — are still carrying some fatigue from a long season and the summer’s World Cup. In the Premier League, Manchester City remain formidable, Tottenham look typically solid, while Chelsea seem to have taken to their new manager annoyingly fast.
As if to prove a point , on Raffle Day, Liverpool — always likely to end up in a tough group on account of their Pot 3 seed — drew 93 point Paris Saint-Germain, 91 point Napoli, and 100 point Red Star Belgrade, then topped it all off with a Carabao Cup visit from Chelsea. While none of the teams from that list will be happy to face the Reds, there is little doubt that the Anfield outfit could have been luckier with their cup draws.
Jürgen Klopp just doesn’t care about things outside his control.
“To be 100 per cent honest, it was not that I had a group I wished for or whatever,” the manager told the club’s official site. “I expected a difficult group, we have a difficult group and that’s what the Champions League is all about.
“That’s how it is. No problem. The Champions League is the biggest club competition in the world, so it should be difficult because it is. We cannot expect to get an ‘easy’ group or whatever.
“It’s important and interesting to watch the draw, but in the end you have absolutely no influence on it,” he continued. “Now we can start having influence because now we can prepare for the games and look at their games.
“‘It is how it is’ is the best way to describe it; don’t think too much about it. If you think about the group, you are already out. If you think it is too difficult, you are already out. We don’t think either. We will play the games, we will be competitive – that’s what we have to make sure – and that is all.”
This is the healthy way to think about the realities of competition at this level, of course, but it is an unavoidable fact that games against easier opposition would allow Klopp to rest key players throughout the season, which would help maintain their fitness as the competitions get to the pointy end, improving the odds of success. One thing is for sure; should the Reds get to lift trophies at the end of the year, it will not have been by going the easy route.