Club World Cup: Klopp sees Liverpool as challenger, not favourite

Liverpool will play Monterrey in the 2019 Club World Cup semifinals and manager Jurgen Klopp feels his side is not the favourite to win the title.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp looks on during the pre-match press conference prior to the FIFA Club World Cup semifinal between Monterrey and Liverpool FC.   -  Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, while expressing discomfort over the cramped winter schedule plaguing his team, assured the fans of his team’s full commitment to the FIFA Club World Cup here. Klopp’s team will end up playing nine games in December if it reaches the final of this tournament.

Liverpool, which is set to miss the versatile midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum in the semifinal clash against Monterrey, will play two games in two days across two continents. A team of academy players will look to keep the team’s Carabao Cup (English League Cup) campaign running, when they take on Aston Villa at Villa Park 24 hours ahead of the team’s semifinals clash here.

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“I'll be watching Villa game on television. We have said everything about that already. It's not how we wished it would be, but the solution (playing with two different teams) is the most practical for us. Big chance for the kids to play. Are they favourites? Of course not. But it's exciting opportunities,” Klopp said.

Asserting his team’s willingness to put its best foot forward at the FIFA event, Klopp added: “We are here. We don't fly that distance to not show up. We are here. We will be prepared. We don't see ourselves as favourites, we see ourselves as challengers. Is it the most important competition? I don't know.”

The German manager refused to be drawn into a battle between South American and European football over a possible summit clash with Brazilian champion Flamengo.

“We are representing our own club, we don't have the burden of showing South America how we play football,” he said. “I haven't thought about Flamengo yet, just about Monterrey. We will watch semifinal, both teams are potential final opponents, that's normal.”

FIFA’s plan to replace the Confederations Cup with an expanded Club World Cup also didn't find much support from the Liverpool manager. “FIFA want a Club World Cup in the summer but it's the same summer as Africa Cup of Nations, they all have to sit around the table and not play these great competitions at the same time,” Klopp said.

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