(Reuters) - Liverpool can handle the pressure of opening their Premier League campaign and taking part in a Champions League playoff within the same week as they have a stronger squad than last season, manager Juergen Klopp has said.
Liverpool’s fourth-placed league finish sealed a spot in the playoff round for next season’s Champions League, the first leg of which will be held on Aug. 15-16, with the second leg to be played the following week.
The Merseyside club start their league campaign on Aug. 12 at Watford and Klopp believes that they can make a good start and seal a return to the Champions League after two seasons.
”We all know in a few weeks we have these qualifiers and there will be pressure on the game,“ Klopp told the club’s website. ”But now we have the time to prepare for this and we have to use the basis we created last year...
”We are now one of the top four teams in England, so now we want to keep this situation and work with it and improve.
“The squad will be stronger this year than it was last year. That’s a reason for real optimism.”
Klopp’s side begin their pre-season preparations with a friendly at non-league Tranmere Rovers on July 12.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru