The challenge facing Liverpool in their Champions League play-off will not distract from the work being done for the Premier League opener at Watford, insists Jürgen Klopp.
His assistants, Zeljko Buvac and Peter Krawietz, conducted a scouting trip to Hoffenheim on Saturday as the Reds concluded their pre-season fixture list by beating Athletic Club 3-1 in Dublin.
But with Klopp, staff and players back on home soil this week after their summer travelling, their concentration is on the trip to Vicarage Road first and foremost.
“You can’t measure the importance of it. It’s the first game and then Hoffenheim is the second game,” the boss told reporters at the weekend.
“If something happens [with injuries], it happens, we can’t avoid that. We could leave players behind and then they could slip in the kitchen.
“You cannot do this. We will play completely 100 per cent. Maybe Watford will think we don’t have that mindset. It’s my job to make sure that does not happen.
“It’s a specific situation for all the clubs. Do you think Nice wanted to play Ajax and now Napoli? It’s a hard challenge because UEFA has the rules that the champions play each other and the other teams play against each other from the stronger leagues. It’s like this and we take it.”
Buvac and Krawietz saw Hoffenheim beat Bologna 3-0 in a friendly on Saturday.
The German club, who are coached by 30-year-old Julian Nagelsmann, lost only four games as they finished fourth in the Bundesliga last term – and Klopp accepts it is the way of the Champions League to be tasked with overcoming their quality.
“They are really good and have a fantastic young manager,” he said.
“We know what we are facing there. Maybe everyone was in front of the TV and thought ‘Young Boys of Bern please’ but then we got Hoffenheim.
“For me, I thought ‘OK, Germany again’ so it happened. They are strong, yes, but if you want to play Champions League you have to beat teams like this.”