Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says there is “no extra pressure” to deliver the team’s first Club World Cup title at next month’s tournament in Qatar.
Liverpool enter the tournament at the semi-final stage and face a second-round winner on December 18 and the German believes the European champions could be pushed hard by unfamiliar opponents in the seven-team competition.
“I’m not someone who has to be the first on the moon or the first winning the World Cup with Liverpool, but when we’re there we’ll try with all we have,” Klopp told the FIFA website.
“So far, I don’t feel any pressure. I see it as an absolute opportunity… the interesting and difficult part is that we’ll be playing against teams from other continents, which doesn’t happen that often… it’ll be a tough one for sure.”
The teams involved in the December 11-21 tournament are CONCACAF champions Monterrey of Mexico; Qatar champions Al Sadd; Oceania title holders Hienghene Sport of New Caledonia; African champions Esperance of Tunisia; the eventual South American champions and the Asian Champions League winners.
“We’ll prepare for it as we would usually and we’ll see if it’s right or wrong… I don’t get to see a lot of Brazilian, Argentinian, Mexican or Arabic football… so I don’t know too much about them… It’ll be really intense,” Klopp added.
Liverpool outclassed Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in the Champions League final in June to claim their sixth European Cup and followed that by beating Europa League winners Chelsea 5-4 on penalties to lift the UEFA Super Cup.
Klopp’s side have an eight-point lead atop the Premier League as they target a first English title in 30 years and can add another trophy to their cabinet before the year ends.
Such is the fixture crunch that Liverpool are set to field two different squads in the Carabao Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa on Decemeber 17 and Club World Cup the following day due to a lack of available dates to postpone the domestic game.
“Unfortunately, we won’t round off 2019 in that moment (with the Club World Cup trophy) because there will be games to come before the year ends,” said Klopp, whose side play 12 games across four competitions between November 23 and January 2.
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