LONDON. — Jurgen Klopp returns to Germany for the first time as Liverpool coach today hunting a Europa League win at Augsburg in his quest to quench the Reds’ thirst for silverware.
Klopp returns to the sidelines at a German Bundesliga ground for the first time since the 48-year-old quit Borussia Dortmund last season, then replaced Brendan Rogers as Liverpool coach in October.
Fans have clamoured for tickets for the round of 32, first-leg clash at the WWK Arena in deepest Bavaria to see Liverpool, who are unbeaten in their six European games under Klopp and buoyed by Sunday’s thrashing of Aston Villa.
Augsburg received 5 000 applications for just 2 000 away tickets for the Liverpool game, which will be a 26 160 sell-out, with the return leg at Anfield on February 25, just three days before the Reds play Manchester City in the League Cup final.
While he is looking forward to returning home, Klopp is focused on the job in hand.
“During the draw, I wasn’t thinking ‘please let it be a German club’. At that point, I’d only been away for four months,” he admitted.
“I’m looking forward to coming to Germany, but it’s work and it’s not as though I’ve been waiting for it.
“(For Augsburg) Liverpool would have been an exciting enough draw, without a German coach (being involved).
“The stadium would have already been full.”
Liverpool arrive in Bavaria buoyed by their 6-0 drubbing of Villa which left them eighth in the Premier League.
After a mid-season injury glut, Liverpool are getting back to a fully fit squad.
Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Divock Origi all played in the drubbing of Villa after recent injuries.
Sturridge, who scored the opener at Villa Park, made his first start since early October, while it was Coutinho’s first start since January 5.
Klopp is expected to name a strong side, as Liverpool do not have any games between the two legs after being knocked out of the FA Cup by West Ham earlier this month. — AFP.