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    Monday, 26 October 2020

    Preview: Liverpool v Midtjylland | Jurgen Klopp's full pre-match interview

    Liverpool welcome Danish title-holders Midtjylland to Merseyside on Tuesday for the Champions  League's second round of fixtures in Group D

    Liverpool vs. Midtjylland, Champions League 27-10-2020.

    The Reds kicked off the European competition with a 1-0 victory over AFC Ajax in Amsterdam last week.

    And now, they've to go head to head with Brian Priske’s Midtjylland side that suffered a 4-0 home defeat to Atalanta at the other scene of the competition's opener last week.

    Klopp feels his team need to be ready for what he termed a ‘proper fight’ tomorrow as the Liverpool manager tackled questions from journalists during his pre-match press conference on Monday afternoon.

    On how much he knows about FC Midtjylland

    "Since yesterday I know a lot. Before that, I knew a little bit of the story of the club, the things they try, using science in a different way, working very specific. [It’s] a very interesting project, I have to say. Since yesterday, I saw plenty of games and some summaries and now I'm in the picture. They are good, they are really good. The 4-0 against Atalanta was not a 4-0... it was a 4-0 because that was the result, but it didn’t look like this kind of game – they were really in the game, the possession was pretty level. They [are] a football-playing side, they have different ideas depending on what the opponent is doing, they are flexible as well, so it’s a challenge. It’s a real challenge and that's what we have to be ready for – and that’s what we try to be."

    On the response his team have shown in the last week

    "Look, the last week was not the best week of our lives, let me say it like this. It started with a really good football game with some things we obviously didn't like and don’t help, so then it's all about showing a reaction because you cannot influence the things that happen to you in life, but you can influence the response you show. I like the response, to be honest. The boys were really ready to work really hard again, show real resilience, fighting for a result, digging in and all these kind of things, which is important. I expect that but after the very, very long, very, very good times we had it’s then possible people react differently. My boys didn’t, they did exactly what I thought they would do. They fought as much as they could and they won both games – and that's the part I liked most."

    On the link between Midtjylland and Brentford

    "As I said, it is interesting. Five years ago in my break, I was interested to go there for a while to Midtjylland or Brentford just to have a look, to see what they do exactly. But then I signed for Liverpool and I couldn’t do that! That just shows, it was already five years ago and it is still [interesting]. It is an interesting approach."

    On how Liverpool will approach tomorrow night's game

    "How we approach the game? I'm sorry, we are not in private. You know it's a press conference? Look, you know what Midtjylland is doing. Midtjylland have different styles. They have playing build-up or they are a bit more direct in their build-up and stuff like this. If you press them high, then they play more long – all these kind of things. They have really experienced defenders, good footballing midfielders, speed on the wings, physicality in the centre upfront. They have a clear plan, so we have to see. We have a clear plan as well, which is adaptable, I would say, and we will try that. We have to make decisions before the game and then we have to make a lot of good decisions in the game. Then we have to show that we are ready for a proper fight because that's what I actually expect. So, that's it, that's our approach."

    On Liverpool's Champions League exit to Atletico Madrid last season

    "We played a really good game. I know people forget that, they tend to forget that when you lose a game, but we played a really good game at Madrid. We lost there 1-0 but [we] were in the game against a difficult side to play. We played a super game at home which we lost. Sounds crazy but we played a really good game and what more can you do than being one time at least level and one time the better team? That means usually if you use your chances that you go through. Performance-wise it was not a problem. It was a very strange time. We heard the day before a lot of things, two days, three days before, a lot of things, 'It was the last game before lockdown.' This is not an example for how we should do it or how we shouldn't do it – football-wise you can but all the rest around was completely different. But we love that competition and we still love it, even when we got knocked out last year a bit too early. But it's still different times. It's Europe, it's Champions League, it's Anfield, it's at home but there's no crowd here. It's still the competition we love and I hope we showed that already last week and we have to show that tomorrow night again. Then we will see how far we can go. There are no guarantees but a lot of opportunities and I like opportunities. So let's try and give it a proper try."

    On how the Reds have performed without Virgil van Dijk for the past two matches

    "As good as possible. Look, every team in the world would miss Virgil van Dijk. He is the best centre-half in the world, so that's of course not an easy thing to do. You play the game, he gets injured and you play three days later the next game, so you have to build your new line-up. Virg is not only the best centre-half, we could play him in pretty much all the games in the last two-and-a-half, three years since he's here. So, of course, that's then difficult to do because all the boys play together with Virg, but they didn't play too often together with each other. Joel Matip was injured as well, so that doesn't help. Then Fabinho, the usual six, has to play centre-half, Joey, it's [his] obvious position so that helps then, then Trent and Robbo left and right. So they are not used to each other as much as pretty much all other pairings. For that, we did pretty well and that will get better 100 per cent because unfortunately pretty much all the things in life need time – and defending needs time as well to bring it on a specific level especially. So as a start it was OK but we all expect pretty much not perfection but not too far from perfection from us. That means there's space for improvement, that's OK. But how I said, everybody needs time to replace a massive player or person, but so far we did OK."

    On both Liverpool and Midtjylland using throw-in coach Thomas Gronnemark

    "And Ajax used to work with him – we are the Thomas Gronnemark group pretty much! We saw the influence of Thomas in the analysis when we watch Midtjylland now and I think he will be proud of that. But it was a pretty silent week. Thomas is a 100 per cent professional and we don't ask him now what they are doing and he would not give Midtjylland the answer. That's just how professionals work. He's a super guy, helped us a lot. Throw-ins are always a big part – maybe a bigger part than for some other teams – for our preparation for the games. But it's not the only part. We have to think about a lot of things and we know that they will not make a lot of mistakes around throw-ins, let me say it like this. They will use their routines – like we have a few – and in the end, we have to make sure we can use ours and deny theirs."

    On facing Midtjylland in Europe's premier club competition

    "We don't see you as a small club, we see you really as a team, a proper challenger in this group. Nobody is part of the group because they are nice cities or whatever. They are just there because they are good football teams and because they earned the right to be in the Champions League the season before. And Midtjylland, they had an impressive comeback against Brondby. It means they are good again, not only last year. I don't know exactly how many players they lost because I didn't watch games from last year, only from this year. But it is just a football team and in football that's the thing we probably all love most about it, pretty much everything is possible. We use that from time to time for us – maybe from another perspective. But I'm sure Midtjylland sees it exactly the same way. They won't wave already with the white flag. They will be here and try to do everything they can. It was always the case and never not. We respect that. There's no smaller team in the Champions League, there are only teams. How small and big you are, you show on the pitch in the game and not in any press conferences before."

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