Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has welcomed the Reds’ Champions League pairing with Rangers, naming two Ibrox stars he is very much looking forward to coming up against.
The Reds boss has enjoyed an excellent record in European competition during his Anfield tenure. He has led the club to three Champions League finals, winning one of them against Tottenham, but losing on two other occasions to Real Madrid. Now Liverpool will next month begin their quest to lift the famous old trophy for a seventh time – and second time under Klopp.
And the draw on Thursday placed Liverpool in Group A, alongside Napoli, Ajax and Rangers.
They will certainly provide Liverpool with quite the stern test, the second season in a row where they have faced a difficult group.
Assessing the meeting with Rangers, Klopp admits he’s very much looking forward to facing them.
They will come up against two former players in Ryan Kent and Ben Davies. And Klopp has warmly praised the development of Davies since his departure from Ibrox.
“Rangers are a new opponent for us but we know them, too,” Klopp said. “Their story over the last few years has been really interesting and they did really, really well to qualify for the group stage, given the teams they were up against in the qualifying matches.
“We also know a couple of their players well. Ryan Kent has had a great development since moving to Scotland and Ben Davies is just starting out on his journey with Rangers, so it will be good to come up against them.”
Pundit defends Liverpool’s transfer stance
Klopp has admitted he wants to sign a new midfielder before the transfer window closes following a series of injuries already this season.
Some pundits believe Klopp deserves more backing in the transfer market, with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Newcastle, West Ham, Arsenal, Aston Villa, and Wolves all having a greater net spend than Liverpool in the last five seasons.
However, Noel Whelan insists Klopp can have few complaints about the backing he’s had in the market.
“I don’t think the transfers have let them down,” he told Football Insider.
“They’re just missing a few huge players, particularly in that midfield. They have freshened up their squad significantly in the last four and a half years.
“They’ve looked a bit disjointed at times – things haven’t quite clicked the way we saw last season.
“I don’t think they’ve got going yet. They’re treading water at the moment, and just trying to find that form that has been so consistent in the past few years.”
Jurgen Klopp needs new midfielder
It would come as no surprise were the Reds to strengthen their options in midfield before the window shuts.
Jurgen Klopp has belated come to realise that injuries and their condensed schedule will make the next few months extremely hectic. Thankfully for him, there remains some decent options out there, not least Lyon star Houssem Aouar.
With just 10 months left on his deal, the Ligue 1 side are preparing to sell him for a cut-price £12.5m (€15m). That sort of fee will not break the bank for Liverpool – and he has the quality and passing range to slot into their side.
Long term, Liverpool could still look to bring in a real statement signing in that position. To that end, talks are said to be accelerating with Borussia Dortmund over a deal for Jude Bellingham.
The England teenager would prove a huge coup for the Reds and looks well placed to become Jordan Henderson’s long-term replacement in their side.