Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has warned his team that their away record in the Champions League will need to improve significantly if they are to avoid an early exit from the competition.
The Guardian reported quotes from the German in which he said that a repeat of last year’s 0% away record in the group stage would not be enough to get them through to the knockout rounds this time, let alone go on to retain their European crown.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s Champions League encounter away to Genk, Klopp said: “Last year we were lucky with how tight the group was that we could lose three times away and still have a chance to make it through the group. That will not happen this year. It’s completely different.” [via The Guardian]
Liverpool squeezed through their Champions League group last year thanks to three home wins, which enabled them to survive losing all three group games away from Anfield and pip Napoli for second place on goals scored – the Serie A side have since exacted revenge on Klopp’s men by beating them in Italy last month.
While the Reds subsequently enjoyed knockout round wins away to Bayern Munich and Porto, their record on their European travels under Klopp has not made for pleasant reading.
Prior to their win in Munich last March, Liverpool had lost five consecutive Champions League games away from Anfield, even if they enjoyed some substantial wins on their travels in 2017/18 (7-0 at Maribor and 5-0 at Porto). [via lfchistory.net]
In getting the Reds to the Europa League final in 2016, Klopp won just one of six away matches and none in the knockout rounds. [via lfchistory.net]
The aforementioned win over Maribor, which is now more than two years ago, was the last time Liverpool won a European group match on the road; while the last time they earned a point away from home in a European group game was at Sevilla in November 2017, and even then they relinquished a 3-0 lead to end up drawing 3-3.
Liverpool’s away record in Europe does not make for pleasant reading and, while bottom-placed Genk may seem like ideal opposition for a rare away win, the Belgian club held Napoli to a goalless draw on their own patch earlier this month.
Also, Klopp will not want to be left needing a result in Salzburg on the final group matchday, given that the Austrian side put six goals past Genk at home last month and netted three times at Anfield in early October.
With Napoli and Salzburg playing each other across the next two matchdays, Liverpool have a chance to steal a march in Group E by putting Genk to the sword, and it’s one they must seize if they are to prevent the risk of their Champions League title defence from ending very prematurely.
Liverpool fans, would anything less than an away win tonight leave the Reds in serious danger of missing out on the Champions League knockout rounds? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below!
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