Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has called on his team mates to ignore the hype surrounding manager Juergen Klopp’s reunion with former club Borussia Dortmund ahead of Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final clash between the sides.
Klopp spent seven seasons at Dortmund, leading them to two Bundesliga titles, German Cup glory and the 2013 Champions League final, where they lost to Bayern Munich, before he opted to take a sabbatical at the end of the last campaign.
He was tempted back into management by Liverpool last October and his imminent return has been the main talking point in the build-up to the game, but Henderson is keen for Liverpool to concentrate solely on getting a positive result.
“It might be different for the boss going back to his old club but for us as players we need to go there, concentrate on the game and what we need to do and just focus on the job in hand,” Henderson told British media.
“It’s a very big game against a very good team. It will be tough. They have some top players but with the players we’ve got, I believe we can go there and get a good result.”
Dortmund are the favourites going into the game, having eliminated Tottenham Hotspur in the previous round, but their chief executive, Hans-Joachim Watzke, believes Klopp’s cult status at his former club could give Liverpool an edge.
“I fear that Klopp is trying to lull us into a false sense of security and that he will try to get our fans on his side to ensure that the match feels like a friendly,” Watzke told German newspaper Bild.
“I would like to see that our fans pay their respects to Juergen after the game but not before and not during it. We must stand together to be able to beat a club like Liverpool.”