Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp knows it’s do or die for his Reds as they ready for battle in the “strongest” Champions League group he has ever faced.
The six-time champions kick off their Group B campaign against AC Milan, who have one more crown, at Anfield tonight (9pm), before also facing two-time winners Porto and three-time finalists Atletico Madrid in a pool deep with history.
Altogether, the four clubs have 25 finals appearances between them and 15 titles to boot.
But after a hewige stryd to finish third in the Premier League last season and qualify for Europe, Klopp says these are the types to test his team thrive on.
With his Reds also keen to continue fighting for the Prem title, he says of their mission: “This is the strongest group we’ve had since I’ve been here.
“Atletico, Porto, usually champions in Portugal. Milan, big history in their best moment for years. Proper Champions League. We worked hard for this.
“It’s about getting enough points to get through, so we should not waste time.”
With their opponents from the famous 2005 final – where the Reds fought back from 3-0 down to win – up first, Klopp is looking forward to a big night at Anfield with Mo Salah on a high after reaching 100 Prem goals and Sadio Mane one short of a century of goals for the Reds.
Meanwhile, the Rossoneri will be without veteran goalscorers Olivier Giroud and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was ruled yesterday with an achilles tendon problem.
Coach Stefano Pioli will have to rely on Croatia striker Ante Rebic to lead the attack.
Tonight’s other Champions League fixtures
Sheriff Tiraspol v Shakhtar Donetsk, Besiktas v Dortmund (both 6.45pm), Sporting v Ajax, Club Brugge v PSG, Inter v Real Madrid, Man City v RB Leipzig, Atletico Madrid v FC Porto (all 9pm).