Jurgen Klopp expecting strong performance from Liverpool’s much-changed side
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists the Reds want to win their Champions League dead rubber against Midtjylland even though he will name an under-strength side in Denmark.
With the Reds guaranteed Group D winners and their hosts already confirmed to finish bottom, there is nothing riding on the match and Klopp sees it as a perfect opportunity to rest key players.
The German could potentially hand Champions League debuts to the likes of 18-year-old Billy Koumetio, Jake Cain and Leighton Clarkson, both 19, in a side whose 10 outfield players are likely to have an average age of around just 22.
But Klopp still wants the victory, which would give the club their highest points tally from the group stage (15).
“Our Champions League squad was already very young – we had four, five, six players involved in the squad during the whole campaign so far and yes, they will travel and then we will make decisions,” said Klopp.
“It’s the first time we don’t have to get a result in the last match of the group stage, the first time we are first in the table already.
“We have to consider the general situation, that’s clear, but we have to consider as well it’s the Champions League, we are Liverpool and we want to win the game. All these kind of things will lead in the end to a line-up.”
Even with a much-changed, inexperienced team Klopp still expects them to meet a certain standard.
“It’s clear for the boys what kind of football we want to play, how intense we want to be, how difficult to play we want to be for the opponent,” he added.
“So there are a lot of things I want to see, but that is pretty much what I want to see in all the games. This game is no different.
“This game is only one part different and that is we don’t have to win it, because as Liverpool you usually have to win all the games.
“But we still want to win it, which is the better thing to do. That’s what I want to see, that everybody can see we go there and want to win the football game.
“It will be difficult because Midtjylland is much better than the table shows.
“They grew in the competition, without getting points but it’s a strong group, so it was difficult for Midtjylland.
“But I’m sure they will give us a proper fight and we have to be ready for that.”