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Dublin: 2 °C Monday 19 March, 2018

Klopp urges Liverpool to get the job done and book place in knockout stages

The Reds need a point against Spartak Moscow tomorrow evening to ensure they top Group E.

The Liverpool manager during this afternoon's press conference.
The Liverpool manager during this afternoon's press conference.
Image: Nick Potts

LIVERPOOL BOSS JURGEN Klopp is desperate to avoid any slip-ups from his side as he targets a place in the Champions League knockout stages with the odds heavily stacked in their favour.

A draw at home to Spartak Moscow in their final group match would put Liverpool through while a win would ensure they top Group E but Klopp is taking nothing for granted after his side let slip a 3-0 lead against Sevilla in the last round of matches.

Three years ago the five-time European champions needed to win at home to Basel to progress but a draw dropped Brendan Rodgers’ side into the Europa League.

“All good and bad things that happened in the Champions League — mostly good — has brought us to this situation and if we win we are through and that is cool,” said Klopp, whose Liverpool side are bidding to reach the knockout stages for the first time since 2009.

“I know a lot of people might think we should be already through but that’s not life, it is not ‘if’ and ‘when’, it is about the moment.

“Spartak could say the same as they gave away four points against Maribor so they would be in a different situation.”

Klopp says he will play his strongest team despite Sunday’s derby at home to an Everton side buoyed by the appointment of new permanent manager Sam Allardyce.

The starting team is likely to include playmaker Coutinho, who continues to be the subject of speculation over a renewed bid from Barcelona after the Catalan club’s failure to sign him in the summer.

Klopp was asked what made him so sure Coutinho would still be at the club in February but he dismissed the question.

“Nothing — but I don’t think about it, I think about the Moscow game,” he added. “Not one second have I thought about that so far. I am not unsure, I am not sure, I don’t think about it.”

Klopp is also optimistic of having Ragnar Klavan and Joe Gomez back to bolster his defence. Forward Sadio Mane is expected to return after being rested at the weekend.

© AFP 2017

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