Jurgen Klopp, portrait general image (Laurence Griffiths/PA Wire/PA Images)

“A proper footballing group” – Jurgen Klopp on Liverpool’s Champions League group draw

Jurgen Klopp is looking forward to the challenges which lie ahead in Europe after Liverpool’s Champions League draw pitted them against very technical sides.

The Reds will face Ajax, Atalanta and FC Midtjylland in Group D, three opponents noted for different reasons as being intriguing to watch develop in recent years.

Liverpool came within minutes of facing the Eredivisie icons in the final in Madrid two years ago, before a late Spurs goal sent Ajax out at the semi-final stage. Despite members of that team leaving, they remain an outlet of enormous youth talent and have signed a few seniors this of late, too.

Atalanta are one of the most attack-minded sides in Europe, free-scoring and with extremely good recruitment in recent years, and look set to challenge in Serie A once more.

And Danish side Midtjylland, while naturally a smaller club in a less-competitive league, are noted for their early adoption of data useage in everything from tranfers to set-pieces—and are another club who work with the Reds’ throw-in coach, Thomas Gronnemark.

Klopp says the biggest early takeaway from the draw is that the Reds will face sides who love to get the ball down and play football, with brave and offensive-minded styles whenever possible, while also noting that the relative lack of travel is a plus-point, too.

“Italy, Holland and Denmark are not the furthest so that’s ok,” he said.

“But it’s a really strong group, everyone knows how good Ajax were two years ago, they always build a proper new squad.

“Midtjylland for different reasons has been for years one of the most interesting teams because they have quite a specific way.

“Atalanta is a really exciting project, they play pretty good stuff as well. It’s a proper football group, all teams run a lot, the games will be intense.”

The Reds will be looking, as ever, to secure their progress as quickly as possible and go a step or two further than last year’s last-16 exit.

Fixtures are expected to be released for the group stage on Friday.