Monday 18 December 2017

Dortmund draw is a nightmare for Klopp

Jurgen Klopp celebrates Liverpool’s Europa League victory over Manchester United on Thursday. Photo: Reuters / Andrew Yates
Jurgen Klopp celebrates Liverpool’s Europa League victory over Manchester United on Thursday. Photo: Reuters / Andrew Yates

Jurgen Klopp's Europa League nightmare came true yesterday when his Liverpool side were drawn to meet former club Borussia Dortmund in next month's quarter-finals.

After Liverpool knocked out bitter rivals Manchester United on Thursday, Klopp told reporters: "I hope we don't get Dortmund".

The charismatic German spent seven seasons at Dortmund, leading them to two Bundesliga titles, German Cup glory and the 2013 Champions League final where they lost to Bayern Munich.

"He comes back!", said Dortmund playmaker Ilkay Guendogan on Twitter after hearing news of the draw.

Liverpool, without a major trophy since they lifted the League Cup in 2012, will travel to Germany for the first leg on April 7 before hosting the return match at Anfield seven days later.

It is 50 years since the two teams met in the final of the now-defunct European Cup Winners' Cup in 1966, Dortmund winning 2-1.

The Germans reached the last eight by defeating another English club, Tottenham Hotspur, in the last 16.

Klopp, however, believes his players now feel comfortable with his style of play and that is being reflected in results.

Progress into the quarter-finals of the Europa League at the expense of arch-rivals Manchester United after a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford - and 3-1 aggregate win - means they have not lost in 90 minutes since early February.

Included in that sequence is the League Cup final penalty shoot-out defeat to Manchester City and a last-minute FA Cup loss at West Ham but also takes in wins over City and United.

Klopp believes momentum has been generated by a greater understanding of his tactics and not merely an improvement in confidence.

"The problem with confidence is it is like a little flower: if you step on it, it is away in a second - it is much more difficult to let it grow than to let it die," said the German ahead of tomorrow's clash at Southampton. "It is not only about confidence, it is more about feeling more and more trust in our way of play.

"I don't know in this moment how much we ran yesterday but especially in the first game it was really intensive but only 112 kilometres (were covered by the players).

"When I started here it was 119, 120 and we didn't win. The only reason for counter-pressing is to win the ball back as quick as possible otherwise you have to make too many kilometres and that makes no sense.

"This is a real development and that is more important than confidence because the players have quality and we always have an offensive line up so it is important we feel better in this style of play."

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