Jurgen Klopp said Tuesday that he is determined that unfancied Salzburg spring no surprises on Liverpool as the long-time admirer of the Austrian champions prepares for a key Champions league clash at Anfield.
Salzburg are top of Group E after thrashing Genk 6-2 in their Champions League opener two weeks ago, while the Reds are under pressure to bounce back with a win after losing 2-0 at Napoli.
Teenage sensation Erling Braut Haaland scored a sensational hat-trick in the Genk mauling, and Liverpool are well acquainted with Salzburg’s development of young players, with Reds duo Sadio Mane and Naby Keita both having had spells with Salzburg earlier in their careers.
“We have to start winning and we should not waste time. It is really tough and they will surprise a lot of people, tomorrow night and in the future,” said Klopp on Tuesday.
“The way Salzburg play is made to surprise bigger teams. But if there is anybody in the world who knows most about the way they play, how they do (it), what they do, it’s probably me.
“I’ve followed their way for a long, long time. I had a similar idea when I started as a manager.”
Liverpool will again look to their fortress home ground as a lift, with Klopp’s men unbeaten at Anfield in the Premier League or Champions League since April 2017.
That form has also helped Liverpool open up a five-point lead over Manchester City in England.
But Mane insisted ending a 30-year-wait to win a league title will not be given precedence over retaining their Champions League crown.
“Both are important for me. Both are our target. We are Liverpool, we have a great team so I don’t think we should have a problem about it,” said the Senegalese, who is looking forward to facing his former club.
“It’s a special game for me. I’ve been playing for two years in Salzburg. Now I play against them and I’m sure they will be ready for me.”