Union Saint-Gilloise manager Alexander Blessin has admitted that his team’s upcoming Europa League clash against Liverpool was playing on their minds during last weekend’s domestic fixture against Charleroi.
However, the 50-year-old confessed that his players had already been turning their attention to their meeting with the Reds, saying (via Het Nieuwsblad): “The high temperature during this period of the year played tricks on us and we were sometimes a bit too lazy and too sleepy. Liverpool were already in our heads.
“It will be something different against fantastic players like [Ibrahima] Konaté and [Joel] Matip. Although, maybe Matip will score another own goal like this weekend. Then we have a chance. Why not?”
Blessin also declared that managing his team at Anfield will be a ‘dream’ for him, having been enthralled by the venue when he visited as coach of RB Leipzig’s under-19s for a fixture against their Liverpool counterparts five years ago.
The Union SG boss said: “When I was still coach of Leipzig U19, we once played against Liverpool U19 in the preparation. We then visited Anfield and the museum. I sent a video to my wife of myself in the stadium, saying that it would be a dream to play there one day.
“Five years later the time has come. If it is so special for me, I can imagine it is the same for my players.”
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Liverpool have been prolific from set pieces so far this season – their tally of four goals from such situations is the joint-highest in the Premier League (WhoScored) – but the evidence from Union SG’S last game is that the Reds will need to beware a similar threat from the Belgian side.
The likes of Konate and Virgil van Dijk have the physicality and aerial prowess to deal with any set play threat from Blessin’s team, but whether both will start on Thursday is debatable considering the Brighton game just three days later.
Nonetheless, it’s a scenario to which Jurgen Klopp will surely be devoting plenty of attention in training this week, with eyes in particular on defender Ross Sykes, who scored two headers in the win over Charleroi.
As for the 50-year-old looking forward to his ‘dream’ visit to Anfield, we hope every aspect of his trip to Liverpool is thoroughly enjoyable apart, of course, from his team’s result on the night!