Champions League: Liverpool aim to avoid another Sevilla-like slip-up with Group E top spot on line
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is desperate to avoid any slip-ups from his side as he targets a place in the Champions League knockout stages with the odds heavily stacked in their favour.
London: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is desperate to avoid any slip-ups from his side as he targets a place in the Champions League knockout stages with the odds heavily stacked in their favour.
A draw at home to Spartak Moscow in their final group match would put Liverpool through while a win would ensure they top Group E but Klopp is taking nothing for granted after his side let slip a 3-0 lead against Sevilla in the last round of matches.
Three years ago the five-time European champions needed to win at home to Basel to progress but a draw dropped Brendan Rodgers' side into the Europa League.
"All good and bad things that happened in the Champions League – mostly good – has brought us to this situation and if we win we are through and that is cool," said Klopp, whose Liverpool side are bidding to reach the knockout stages for the first time since 2009.
"I know a lot of people might think we should be already through but that's not life, it is not 'if' and 'when', it is about the moment.
"Spartak could say the same as they gave away four points against Maribor so they would be in a different situation."
Klopp says he will play his strongest team despite Sunday's derby at home to an Everton side buoyed by the appointment of new permanent manager Sam Allardyce.
The starting team is likely to include playmaker Coutinho, who continues to be the subject of speculation over a renewed bid from Barcelona after the Catalan club's failure to sign him in the summer.
Klopp was asked what made him so sure Coutinho would still be at the club in February but he dismissed the question.
"Nothing – but I don't think about it, I think about the Moscow game," he added. "Not one second have I thought about that so far. I am not unsure, I am not sure, I don't think about it."
Klopp is also optimistic of having Ragnar Klavan and Joe Gomez back to bolster his defence. Forward Sadio Mane is expected to return after being rested at the weekend.
Messi, who earlier this month finally landed a major international trophy with Argentina when they beat rivals Brazil to win the Copa America, "will sign a five-season contract with a release clause of 600 million euros ($709 million)," according to Catalan sports daily L'Esportiu.
The 29-year-old Son has compiled 107 goals and 64 assists in 280 appearances in all competitions since joining Tottenham from Bayer Leverkusen in August 2015.
"Giroud is expected to be in Italy on Thursday to undergo medicals and sign the contract," wrote Sky Sport on its website.