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Midtjylland are no pushovers, says Liverpool’s Klopp

(Reuters) – Midtjylland are a credible threat that cannot be taken lightly and Liverpool do not see them as a “small team” in the Champions League, the Premier League club’s manager Juergen Klopp said on Monday.

The Danish club qualified for the Champions League group stage for the first time this season but Klopp said he has been aware of their project even before he took the Liverpool job.

“We don’t see (Midtjylland) as a small team. They are there because they earned the right to be there,” Klopp told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s match at Anfield.

“I know the story of the club, the things they tried. Very interesting project. Five years ago, in my break, I was interested to go there… to see how things are done there, but then I signed for Liverpool.

“They are really good, it’s a real challenge… They are a bit more direct in their buildup. They have really experienced defenders, good footballing midfielders, speed on the wings, physicality in the centre up front. They have a clear plan.”

Liverpool face an injury crisis, however, with Klopp saying midfielders Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita and defender Joel Matip were unlikely to play.

With defensive leader Virgil van Dijk also sidelined with a knee injury which could potentially rule him out for the rest of the season, Klopp’s side have adapted with defensive midfielder Fabinho slotting into the back line.

“Every team in the world would miss Virgil van Dijk, he’s the best centre half in the world. He played pretty much all the games since he’s been here in the past three years,” the German coach added.

“All the boys have played together with Virgil… They are not used to each other, as other pairings. That will get better.

“It needs time as well to bring to a specific level, we don’t expect perfection but there is space for improvement.”

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

Reference