- Klopp says English dominance unlikely due to rivals’ quality
• Liverpool, Manchester City and Spurs among top seeds in draw
Richard Jolly– The Guardian
Jürgen Klopp has cast doubt on Liverpool’s chances of retaining the Champions League and says another season of English domination was unlikely because the competition has never been stronger.
The manager believes there is no need for a European Super League because the Champions League is already one in effect and he expects Liverpool to be drawn on Thursday in a group with one of the continent’s top teams because so many high-class sides are only second seeds.
He said: “I will have no problem with it [reaching the final] if it happens again, but at this moment I am not too sure it will. We have the same chance like everyone else, but that is all, and I don’t see us, the English teams, dominating. I really think a lot of teams have a good chance.”
Whereas Liverpool, as European champions, Europa League winners Chelsea and Manchester City, as a result of lifting the Premier League, are in the top eight seeds, Tottenham’s reward for reaching the Champions League final is to be in pot two, along with clubs including Real and Atlético Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Napoli. Antonio Conte’s ambitiously remodelled Internazionale, Bayer Leverkusen and Valencia are in pot three and RB Leipzig in pot four.
Klopp added: “I don’t think there was ever a stronger pot two. It is just crazy. They should all be in pot one, but there is not enough space there. I don’t think there was ever a stronger pot three. If people really think about this kind of Super League, then you don’t need it. That’s it. Then pot four you can get RB Leipzig – wow!”
Of the potential competition for the trophy, Klopp said: “Look at the squad Borussia Dortmund has and tell me we are stronger than them. That is incredible. They can make five changes and you think: ‘Really, they didn’t play last week? Why?’ There are a lot of quality teams: Juventus will be there, PSG will be there. Real Madrid? Do you think they gave up already? Bayern Munich now finally brought in [Ivan] Perisic and [Philippe] Coutinho which is a big boost.”
Premier League clubs made history last season when, for the first time, one country supplied all four European finalists, but Klopp felt fortune favoured them in the semi-finals, citing a chance Ousmane Dembélé had to put Barcelona 4-0 up against Liverpool at the Camp Nou.
He explained: “Last year we deserved it against Barcelona but we were lucky as well. Tottenham were lucky against Ajax. After the first game of the semis, I think everyone would have said the final will be Ajax Amsterdam versus Barcelona, but it was Tottenham and Liverpool. We needed Dembélé to shoot the ball somewhere [except into the goal] in the first game at Barcelona. You need luck in the right moments.”