Jürgen Klopp is not surprised that Champions League Group C looks likely to go down to the wire.
When the draw for this season’s competition was made – pairing Liverpool with Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli and Red Star Belgrade – the manager warned of the difficulty his side could face across their six fixtures.
He has been proven right; home victories over PSG and Red Star were balanced out by defeats in Naples and Belgrade, with only two points separating the four teams as it stands.
Victory in Paris could put Liverpool into the last 16 while any other result might leave Klopp’s men requiring a rescue act when Napoli visit Anfield next month.
“That’s actually maybe what people would like to see more often in the Champions League group stage,” the manager told Liverpoolfc.com of the group situation ahead of the trip to France.
“Very often it’s the case that you see the groups and think: ‘OK, one and two is clear, let’s have a look who goes to the Europa League.’
“In our group, nothing is now open; we helped a little bit with that with our positive results and with our negative results. And that’s the situation now – it’s as tough as expected.”
After marking the resumption of domestic football last weekend with an eventually-emphatic 3-0 win at Watford, Liverpool’s thoughts quickly turned back to Europe.
The tie at Parc des Princes is the first of a blockbuster week for the Reds, with Everton set to cross Stanley Park for the season’s maiden Merseyside derby on Sunday.
Asked about the significance of the coming days, Klopp said: “Yes, but actually I can’t remember a week where we were in a different mood, to be honest.
“You can say it’s Paris and then Everton and then it’s Burnley and then bam, bam, bam. That’s how it is. But we don’t make a difference [between the matches].
“We especially don’t think about the second game of a week like that, we think about the next game and that’s big enough. It’s quite a job to do.”
Photos: Reds train at Melwood ahead of PSG tie
Liverpool named a 21-man squad for the flight to Paris, with Joe Gomez and Sadio Mane confirmed to be available against Ligue 1’s dominant force.
And Klopp was unequivocal with regards to how the next two games will be juggled.
“You cannot play PSG with 20 per cent of your mind on Everton at the weekend. It just doesn’t work like that,” the German added.
“We don’t have massive time until then but we have enough, it’s the Sunday. We come back late on Wednesday night, maybe Thursday morning. We’ll have a little session on Thursday afternoon and then Friday and Saturday one session, and then Sunday we’ll play Everton.
“It’s not allowed to think about it. Three days are absolutely enough to focus completely on the Everton game. In these days we need to focus on the PSG game.”