Jurgen Klopp says playing Leeds is the ultimate opening day test of Liverpool’s ability to retain their Premier League title.
The reigning champions host the newly-promoted club at Anfield on the opening day of the 2020-21 season in supremely confident mood but Klopp is well aware of the threats posed by Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
“There are plenty of challenges and they are similar to all of the other years but there are some other ones as well,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference.
“The biggest challenge is about pressing a normal season into a shorter period. A proper challenge.
“Leeds are a real Premier League team, quality-wise, with a world-class manager and a really intense idea of football. We need to be ready for that.
“Leeds won’t open up and and be naive. They are well drilled and the things they do are absolutely brilliant.
“They are really well organised but they will face challenges. The Premier League is different to the Championship, but they will do well in the Premier League, I am 100 percent sure.”
Whilst remaining quiet on the intense speculation linking Thiago Alcantara with a move from Bayern Munich to Anfield, Klopp dismissed the idea that becoming champions has created a whole new set of problems.
Liverpool have made just one signing so far in the transfer window, while their expected title challengers – particularl Chelsea, Manchester City and United, have strengthened considerably.
But Klopp is unfazed and expects his side to push hard in a bid to retain their title.
“Winning the league is the best problem you can have,” he explained.
“Everybody gives me the feeling it should be a problem. Everyone wants to become champion but that’s not news to me – I knew that before.
“It’s about how we can put these intense performances on the pitch again and again and again. It’s what we have to do.”
Liverpool will make late calls on the fitness of captain Jordan Henderson, as welll as Xherdan Shaqiri and Kostas Tsimikas for the game at Anfield, but Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are all expected to feature.