- German bullish with Mbappé, Cavani and Neymar in town
• ‘It is the biggest test of our defending so far for sure’
Jürgen Klopp has said he would not swap his Liverpool attack for the Paris Saint-Germain triumvirate of Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappé and Neymar but warned they pose the greatest threat to his team’s unbeaten start.
Liverpool open their Champions League campaign on Tuesday against the only team to have scored more goals than them in the group stage last season – 25 to their 23 – with Cavani, Neymar and Mbappé responsible for 89 in total last term. That was eclipsed by a return of 91 from Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané for Liverpool, however, as Klopp’s team set a competition record of 47 goals in 15 Champions League games en route to the final defeat by Real Madrid. The Liverpool manager insists he would not change any of his forward line for the world’s most expensive player, the prolific Uruguayan or France’s World Cup winner.
“I love my players, all of them, so I don’t want to change anything; I wouldn’t change them,” said Klopp, who hopes Firmino will recover from an eye injury for the Group C opener. “But I watched Paris, I watched them last year and I watched them this year, and it is impressive. They are good, really good, and not only for Paris. Kylian Mbappé: what a World Cup he played. Neymar: we all know about his quality. [Ángel] Di María: maybe he didn’t have the best time at Man United but all the rest of his career was outstanding. Cavani: outstanding goalscorer, so good.”
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Klopp admitted Liverpool’s impressive start as a defensive unit will be severely tested by the French champions at Anfield. “It is the biggest test of our defending so far for sure, not only of our defence. If you let them pass in specific areas, they decide alone if they score or not because of the speed, because of the mix of speed and technical abilities. All of them want to score goals.”
Klopp channelled his inner Madonna to explain how last season’s run to the final could benefit his team. “We have to start new, use the experience but not rely on it,” he said. “The best way is when you are experienced and you use your new knowledge and start again like a virgin.”