Keeping the emotion of his Borussia Dortmund homecoming in check will be extremely difficult, but if Jurgen Klopp is to achieve his ultimate goal over two legs, sentiment must bow to pragmatism at the Westfalenstadion.
Bringing new club Liverpool back to his former stomping ground for this Europa League quarter-final first leg so soon after leaving Dortmund is a prime example of football’s inexhaustible supply of drama.
However, a manager of Klopp’s supposed tactical nous must recognise that his work-in-progress Reds team, whilst dangerous at their high-pressing best, are also vulnerable against premium quality opponents.
And few clubs left in European competition can boast superior quality or form than the Europa League favourites they face next – roared on by an 80,000 strong swarm of yellow and black.
Tottenham’s 5-1 aggregate mauling at the hands of Thomas Tuchel’s revitalised Dortmund served notice of what could lie in store for Liverpool in the most ominous fashion.
BVB remain unbeaten this calendar year (16 games), winning five on the spin heading into this clash and odds of 1/2 that the Reds become their next victim are fully justified.
It’s true that Klopp’s 11/2 underdogs have risen to the occasion in some big games this season, where emphatic wins at Chelsea and Manchester City on their travels have hinted at an exciting future.
The here and now is a starker reality though and without a win in three games, curtailing their ambitions to staying in the tie, rather than anything more foolhardy, looks most sensible.
Grabbing an away goal in itself would rank as a hugely valuable commodity and as long as Liverpool don’t ship three or four, it would rate a fine night’s work.
Liverpool clean sheets are something of a rarity and against the insatiable Pierre-Emmerick Aubameyang and co, Simon Mignolet’s net seems almost certain to bulge.
Backing Tuchel’s free-scoring side – they’ve grabbed at least two in their last four outings – to win a match in which both teams find the net is an attractive bet at 21/10 with Ladbrokes.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.