Liverpool is in the toughest Champions League group, according to Klopp.a
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Liverpool is in the toughest Champions League group, according to Klopp.a

As he prepares for Wednesday's blockbuster match against AC Milan, Jurgen Klopp claims his Liverpool squad faces the "strongest" Champions League group since he joined the club, defending the competition's current format.

In a difficult Group B, Klopp's Reds will meet seven-time European champions AC Milan, Spanish league champions Atletico Madrid, and 2004 Champions League winners Porto.

UEFA, the governing body of European football, stated earlier this year that the Champions League will change format in 2024, replacing the 32-team group stage with a single 36-club league.

Fears that the tournament's quality would suffer as a result arose, with managers also raising concerns about player workloads.

The make-up of Liverpool's group this season, Klopp said in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday, demonstrated the strength of the current system.

"This is without a doubt the strongest bunch I've seen since I've been at Liverpool," said the German, whose team was named European champions in 2019.

"When people talk about changes in the Champions League, I never understand what they're talking about. It's the correct thing to do."

"I appreciate how the Champions League is set up right now. This group demonstrates that there are no games in which participants ask themselves, "Do we really want to watch that?"

The match on Wednesday at Anfield pits two teams that have won 13 European titles between them, and it's a rematch of the 2005 final in Istanbul, in which Liverpool came back from a 3-0 half-time deficit to win on penalties.

In the 2007 final in Athens, Milan avenged themselves by defeating Liverpool 2-1.

After seven seasons of failing to qualify for Europe's elite club competition, Stefano Pioli's Rossoneri are once again a force to be reckoned with.

Liverpool's group, according to Klopp, will be "interesting from the first second to the last second."

"I don't see this group making early choices," he said. "It's exactly what we needed — it keeps us on our toes."

Klopp said he was glad to see the masses return after being mostly shut out last season due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"Unbelievable stadiums, fantastic crowds, a passionate following — it's precisely how we want football," the 54-year-old remarked.

Harvey Elliott, an 18-year-old midfielder who was stretchered off during Liverpool's 3-0 win against Leeds at the weekend following a challenge by Pascal Struijk, will have surgery on his ankle on Tuesday, according to Klopp.

Klopp added, "I spoke to him the night after the game, and he was in the best possible place at that time."

"He is currently in London and will undergo surgery on Tuesday. We're all waiting for updates on that."

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