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Title race question draws fury from Klopp in Munich

Munich (Germany) (AFP) – Jurgen Klopp gave an angry response when asked how defeat or victory in the Champions League on Wednesday at Bayern Munich could impact Liverpool in the Premier League title race.

After a goalless draw in the last-16 first leg at Anfield three weeks ago, a win or score draw in Munich in the return game would send Liverpool into the quarter-finals.

Liverpool are locked in a tense battle with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League and their fans on Merseyside are desperate for a first English league title for 29 years.

An exasperated Klopp took offence when asked whether he felt defeat in Munich would hamper Liverpool in the title race or if victory could help them build momentum in the league.

“I really don’t think that any other coach or manager in the world has to answer this question when he plays in the Champions League,” he fumed.

“I really think that’s unique — that only happens if you are the Liverpool manager or if the pundits (asking) come from Manchester United.

“We want to be focused on this game and even if it (defeat) would harm us, we couldn’t change it, the whole world will be watching this game tomorrow night.

“On the other side, it (victory) will build momentum, yes, but only if we play good football.

“This game has nothing to do with anything else.”

Premier League pressure aside, Klopp knows his Liverpool side face a stern test against a Bayern side buoyed by going top in the Bundesliga at the weekend for the first time since September.

Liverpool welcome back defender Virgil van Dijk, who was suspended for the first leg, but Naby Keita, who started the Anfield stalemate, is ruled out injured.

Bayern have won their three league games comfortably since the first leg, posting crushing 5-1 and 6-0 victories over Moenchengladbach and Wolfsburg respectively.

Klopp tasted victory in four of his nine games at the Allianz Arena as Borussia Dortmund coach from 2008-2015.

He knows what to expect in Bayern’s backyard and called on the travelling Liverpool fans to lend their support.

“I’d say to ours (fans), don’t hesitate — give it your all,” said Klopp.

“We have to be ready from the first second and if we manage it, we’ll have deserved it.

“What I know of facing Bayern is you have to be really brave on the ball, that’s what we have to do, we will get our moments, but it’s all about striking a balance.

“Bayern defended in the first leg at a high level and they will not do that tomorrow, but it will not be easier for us.”

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