The Liverpool manager believes the upcoming clash against Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League will be 'awesome' but the head coach is worried how he'll react to being back at his former club.
Jürgen Klopp has suggested that Premier League side Liverpool may in fact be a bigger club than his previous employers, Borussia Dortmund, and that he is worried about meeting up with his old club in the Europa League clash next Thursday.
In an interview with German broadcaster “Sport1”, the German coach spoke about the differences between the two sides but admitted there was certainly a larger scale to what was going on at his new club in England.
When asked about which club was bigger, Klopp responded: "This club is bigger, I have to say. Perhaps a few people don't want to hear that, but there are a few extra departments here and as a manager, you are fully involved."
The Bundesliga side welcome Liverpool to the Westfalenstadion in the first leg of their quarterfinal tie, in what will be Klopp's first trip back to Dortmund since leaving the club last June. And the charismatic coach is worried about a high-pressure reunion with old colleagues and the club's passionate supporters.
“Wherever I go, I normally find it very easy to shut out all of the surrounding noise,” said Klopp. “This could be very difficult for me this time because I built good relationships with a lot of people [at Borussia Dortmund]. I could even chat to the parking attendants, to be honest.
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“I don't need a welcome in the stadium. I know how we relate to each other. They [the fans] don't have to prove that to me.” He added: “Now they have Thomas Tuchel, who is a fantastic coach. I do not want to convey the impression that the past was better than the present.”
Dortmund finished seventh in the Bundesliga in Klopp's final season, but have since regained their footing in Germany's top flight, whilst also becoming favorites for this season's Europa League title. Klopp believes this turnaround should be celebrated when his new team face his former players.
“Both games will set standards, and that's the best thing that can happen,” said the 48-year-old. “I was involved in qualifying for the Europa League last year, and even then the team had to qualify. That didn't exactly spark massive celebrations, but it was no different here in Liverpool. I had to remind everyone a bit that we too were in the competition. And then you get gifted a game like this. It's awesome."
He added: “If I know the Dortmund players well enough, I know they can block out any emotions. Mats Hummels put it nicely. He said we will welcome each other warmly, genuinely and that we will say goodbye warmly and genuinely, and for the 90 minutes in between he will get on my nerves. Our shared history is so great that it can't be affected by a game.”