Jurgen Klopp has warned Liverpool to expect a ‘super difficult’ game against LASK as they get their Europa League campaign underway.
The Reds are firm favourites to top a group in which they and the Austrian club are joined by Union Saint-Gilloise and Toulouse, and they go into the game off the back of a strong start to the season which has seen them claim 13 points from a possible 15 in the Premier League.
The manager was addressing the media this evening ahead of tomorrow’s match at the Raiffeisen Arena, and he pointed out where the Linz outfit could hurt us if we’re not at our best.
Klopp said (as per Liverpool Echo): “I know we’re favourites but we’re here to play football. We take this game seriously and we want to take the most of it. We are not arrogant, we want to win here. They’re very stable, they use wings well, good free-kicks. It’s not easy and if you let them play they will use the opportunity…This is a super difficult game, I know that.”
This might seem like a classic case of a manager publicly talking up forthcoming opposition out of respect and an avoidance of complacency, but Liverpool would do well to note that tomorrow’s opponents have been in fine form themselves recently.
Just like the Reds, LASK have dropped only two points in their last five league games, while this is the fifth season out of six in which they’ve qualified for Europe.
Their last match saw wingers Marin Ljubicic and Elias Havel both find the net, as well as wing-back Florian Flecker (Transfermarkt), so you can see why Klopp has warned of the threat the Austrian outfit can pose from wide positions.
Still, we have every reason to go into the game confident of victory given our own impressive form and the sheer strength of our squad.
If the attitude from the Liverpool players is right and they find the level of performance which enabled the second-half turnaround against Wolves, or the one which comfortably saw off Aston Villa, they should return to Merseyside with three points on the board in this group.