Jürgen Klopp explained how Liverpool's Champions League showdown with Salzburg is the 'most important game in our lives' simply because it's the next one on the fixture list.

The Reds take on the Austrian champions in the final game of Group E knowing if they avoid defeat, their defence of their European crown will continue into the last-16 stage in the New Year.

The teams played out an entertaining seven-goal encounter at Anfield back in October, which Liverpool edged 4-3 on that occasion; however, Salzburg will progress at the expense of Klopp's side should they better or match that result.

Klopp was addressing journalists at the Red Bull Arena ahead of Tuesday night's game during a pre-match press conference.

Read on for a summary of what he had to say…

On the message he reinforces to his players week after week...

What Hendo said, focus on the next game, nothing else. That's tough enough because we play every three days, that's it. But tomorrow night is the most important game in our lives because there's no other one, that's exactly how it is. When we've played that then we can think about the next Premier League game. But it's nothing to do with the situation in the Premier League. The situation in the Champions League group is OK, but far away from being brilliant. But it's a basis we can work with and that's what we have to show tomorrow. 

On whether keeping a clean sheet at Bournemouth is important ahead of facing a high-scoring Salzburg team...

Well, it's not really important for the game tomorrow. It's important for us, that's true – but not for the game tomorrow. Conceding goals, that happens. We defend well, I think, but we didn't defend so well against Salzburg in the first leg. We lost many balls that were unnecessary. Salzburg is a team that surprisingly makes a lot of goals out of counter-attacks, even though they are leading the Austrian league. But you all know the strong points of Salzburg very well and I know almost all of them I think. We are well prepared for that game and we hope that we can eliminate these strong points.

On whether he has prepared any special tactical plan to deal with Erling Haaland... 

You are from Norway, right? I had a time when I had Robert Lewandowski in my team and always the Polish journalists they didn't listen to anything else in the press conference, it was always one Lewandowski question. If it wasn't Lewandowski then there was Blaszczykowski! I wish you would find a few other players we can talk about. But he's 19 years old, an exceptional player. But how you defend a very good striker, [you] try to make sure that he gets not that many balls. He's good at dribbling as well and if he doesn't take the balls in your own box, he dribbles past players and then scores there. He's just a really big, big talent with a wonderful future, 100 per cent. But for tomorrow night, how you defend the best strikers, you try to avoid passes to them, cut them out of the game and then when they have the ball we have to make it as difficult as possible. 

He's unfortunately not the only strong player in that team. There's probably somebody from Japan here and asks me about that in a second, or from South Korea or wherever. It's a good team, a really good team. From Hungary would also be possible as well. I like the team but we still have to show that we deserve to go through. I said it before, if Salzburg beats us, they deserve to go to the knockout stages. If it doesn't happen then we deserve it – as simple as that. We have 95, 97 minutes to prove that point.  

On whether he feels any nerves ahead of big games…

Firstly, I'm not nervous but I have a special kind of tension because it's a very special situation. If something is important for you, you want to reach that goal. But with years you learn how to deal with that stress and that you won't die of those tense situations! I have made many important games in my life, yes, and I have also lost many important games, but fortunately in the last years it went better. The development of Salzburg is a great development they've had, I have to say. I have already complimented them for many years. I think it's going in the right direction; there has been a big influence of Ralf Rangnick, of course, and I am also very proud and very happy for my former player Marco Rose, that he did a great job here. I have interest in this club, I think it's great what they do, they create a lot of opportunities for young players, for young people – not only in football, but in other sports and that's an interesting thing about them. They fought for very long years to get to the Champions League and now they have the opportunity to go to the knockout stage and that's a great chance. I know this situation also causes a lot of fear not to make it, so who can overcome this fear best will make it to the next phase.

On whether he expects Liverpool's performance level to drop at any stage given the amount of fixtures…

No, I don't expect drops and if I expected they would happen then I would prepare the solution then. Yes, it is difficult of course, but it is the job to do so we don't ask for excuses. We know our schedule, we know where we have to go – we played three days ago a tough game, six days ago a very tough game, in four days a very tough game and then we fly to Qatar. That's all true, but we don't expect drops, we don't accept drops. Not [just] me, the boys as well. We ask ourselves for the highest concentration as a group and then we will see what we get for it. We are in the most intense period of our lives and that's exactly what we try to use and try to enjoy. It's difficult, no doubt about that, but it's nothing that can stop us really. If something will drop then we will deal then with it, but [to] prepare for a drop would not make sense really.

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