Salzburg (Austria) (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has urged his side to enjoy the “most intense period of our lives” as a tough schedule continues with a key Champions League match away to Salzburg.
Reigning European champions Liverpool need to avoid defeat in Austria on Tuesday to secure a place in the last 16.
The Premier League leaders, eight points clear of Leicester as they bid for what would be a first English title in 30 years, are on a sequence of a game every three days.
But such is Liverpool’s strength in depth that Klopp was able to rest the likes of Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino for last week’s Merseyside derby and still oversee a 5-2 defeat of Everton.
Concerns have been raised about the physical toll of pursuing both domestic and European silverware on Liverpool’s players, with the Club World Cup in Qatar also on their December programme.
“We don’t accept drops (in fitness) — not me, the boys as well,” Klopp told a pre-match press conference.
“We are in the most intense period of our lives and that is what we will try to use and enjoy,” insisted the German, whose side come into the game on the back of a 3-0 league win at Bournemouth.
The hosts could yet qualify for the knockout stages themselves, with Klopp adding: “Salzburg has to win against us but we are still ambitious like crazy and will run for our lives — plus play football.
“We focus on the next game, that’s tough enough as we play every three days. Tomorrow night is the most important game of our lives because it is the only one.
“It’s not I expect us to go through, it’s that I expect us to play the best game we can play.”
Italian side Napoli prevented Liverpool from securing a place in the last 16 a fortnight ago but Klopp, speaking to Liverpool’s website on the flight to Austria, said: “We always had to do it the hard way, I can’t remember one time when it was, ‘Oh fine, done’ a week before. We are at least used to that.”
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