Jurgen Klopp has said that suggestions he does not want to win against Borussia Dortmund are “absolutely bullsh*t”.
Klopp managed the German side for seven years before his departure last summer, and will return to the Westfalenstadion with new club Liverpool in the quarter-finals of the Europa League on Thursday.
The first leg heralds Klopp’s first return since his departure, and the 48-year-old is expected to receive an incredibly warm welcome from the home fans, as well as the adoring away support. Everybody loves him because he ‘gets it’, you see?
Much of the build-up has surrounded the supposed issue of whether Klopp will celebrate if Liverpool score in either leg against Dortmund, but the manager has dismissed such questions the only way he knows how.
“At the end, it’s a football game,” Klopp told The Guardian. “We all started playing football against our best friends when we were young and I can’t remember a moment when, because it was my best friend, I did not want to win against him. That is absolutely bullsh*t.
“There’s no doubting the importance of the game for both teams. I had no bad moment in my relationship with Dortmund, not one second, and no one has to show me they know about our positive past because I know about it. I know all about our relationship. No one has to show me anything. They can whistle if they like.
“I have nothing to prove to Dortmund to show how far we have come. I am fine with the draw, with the game, with everything – but not too happy with the stories around me personally. I don’t need it but I can’t avoid it.
“We are ready and as good as we can be at this moment. I’ve seen five Dortmund games since Sunday. Obviously they are full of confidence and playing really well, but as always in football it is up to the opponent how good you really are.
“We think we can be a real challenge – not the favourite, that’s not important – but they have a team that has been together for two years and only had a bad experience at the first half of last season. That made them stronger. They have a good manager but I don’t think I should go there thinking I have to win 5-0 so everyone can say: “Oh look what he can do.” Let’s go out, play well, see what we can do, fly home and then invite them to Anfield.”