Jurgen Klopp has addressed Liverpool’s draw against Hoffenheim in their Champions League play-off, saying it is “for sure not an easy game.”
The Reds will take on Julian Nagelsmann’s side over two legs this month, as they push for a place in the group stage of Europe’s top-tier tournament.
With the first clash set to take place at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena on August 15, and the return leg at Anfield on August 23, there are less than two weeks to prepare.
But in Klopp they have a manager experienced against Bundesliga sides, and the 50-year-old is looking forward to another meeting with 1899.
“Very interesting. Actually, it was exactly what I expected when I had a look,” he told LiverpoolFC.com.
“If there’s a choice we always seem to take the German team! Sorry!
“It was clear from the first moment when we knew who we could face that there would be no easy game. It’s Hoffenheim and that’s for sure not an easy game.
“But we should always not forget what they thought in the moment they saw the draw—it’s not the best thing they could get.
“I’m completely fine with it, happy to know and now we can start preparing.
“[They are a] strong side, how everybody can imagine. When you are fourth in Germany you are a strong side.”
During his time with Mainz 05 and Borussia Dortmund, Klopp won six, drew six and lost five of his 17 encounters with Hoffenheim.
But having left Dortmund before Nagelsmann’s appointment in 2015, he is aware they will be a different prospect this time around.
Nagelsmann has presided over a forced overhaul of his ranks this summer, but Klopp believes the two games will be a “real challenge,” as he pits himself against his youthful counterpart.
“It’s a very interesting club. They have a lot of really good young players,” he continued.
“They lost two of them—[Sebastian] Rudy and [Niklas] Sule to Bayern—and had a little change.
“[They have] a very young manager, just 30 years old, a very talented man. That’s a real challenge but I’m looking forward to it.
“First we’ll play Watford but at the same time we’ll start preparing for Hoffenheim and it’s really exciting.”
As Klopp suggests, Liverpool still need to focus on their Premier League opener away to Watford on August 12, as they look to build on last season’s fourth-placed finish.
But in Hoffenheim, the Reds have been drawn formidable opposition, and Klopp will ensure his side are reminded of that.