Jürgen Klopp

Press conference'We are ready for an intense battle' – Jürgen Klopp previews Sparta Prague tie

By Sam Williams and James Carroll at Stadion Letna


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Jürgen Klopp expects Liverpool to be involved in an ‘intense’ Europa League last-16 tie versus Sparta Prague due to the two teams’ impressive form and comparable styles.

The Reds will meet the Czech champions in the first leg at Stadion Letna on Thursday night having won their last six matches across all competitions, despite a host of injury issues in their squad.

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Sparta, meanwhile, sit top of their domestic league and progressed to this stage of the Europa League by virtue of a 4-1 home win over Galatasaray in the second leg of their knockout round play-off tie last month.

Speaking during his pre-match press conference on Wednesday evening, Klopp noted: “We obviously watched Sparta now and it was interesting, [it was] an intense week for them as well.

“Two games against Slavia [Prague], so obviously a pretty special week. One game, the cup, they won and the other game they kept the distance in the table with a draw, so that’s obviously very helpful.

“Since the manager [Brian Priske] is in, things turned around, which you can see. Becoming champions after such a long time, you can see that in the confidence the team is playing with, a clear idea, very intense.

“But our idea is always a little bit like [that] – and I don’t want to get it misunderstood – they never played us. So, as good as they are – and they are good – we will see how it will work out.

“How Macca [Alexis Mac Allister] said, we expect a really tough game, but that means we expect from ourselves that we will play a top game and if we can do that it is not a joy to play against us, so that’s what we hope.

“Sparta are obviously in a very good moment and I think everybody who is with Sparta would say the exactly the same.”

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The tie comes as part of a relentless fixture schedule for Liverpool, with a top-of-the-table Premier League clash against Manchester City to come on Sunday and an Emirates FA Cup quarter-final trip to Manchester United following on three days after the second leg versus Sparta, which takes place at Anfield on March 14.

However, Klopp insisted there is no chance of the Reds’ immediate focus being fixed on anything other than Thursday’s assignment in Prague.

The manager continued: “As far as I know it is the only game we play tomorrow night so that’s the most important game we have. We don’t make any difference.

“We would not have won the League Cup, we would not be in the next round of the FA Cup, we would not still be in the Europa League if we would prioritise a competition.

“We never did – maybe it would be smart if we do it, but I am a bit dumb so I don’t know how to do that, and we go in each game with all we have and hopefully you will see that tomorrow night. That’s the target.”



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This article has been automatically translated and, while all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure accuracy, some errors in translation are possible. Please refer to the original English-language version of the article for the official version.