Paris - Jurgen Klopp makes his eagerly anticipated return to
Borussia Dortmund on Thursday when his Liverpool side visit the German giants
in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final heavyweight clash.
Klopp spent seven years at Dortmund, guiding them to a pair
of Bundesliga titles as well as the 2013 Champions League final, but is now
plotting the downfall of his former employers as Liverpool bid to add to their
haul of 11 European trophies.
The Reds have been plagued by inconsistency this term but
have fared well against tougher opposition, and midfielder James Milner is
confident Liverpool can stand up to Dortmund.
"We don't fear anyone and we've proved this year we can
beat anyone," Milner told Liverpool's official website.
"We have to make sure we're on our game and if we do
that we've got every chance of going through to the next round."
Having seen off eternal rivals Manchester United in the last
16, Liverpool will hope to use the Anfield crowd to their advantage in the
return leg but Milner knows that all depends on securing a favourable result at
Signal Iduna Park.
"It all depends on the first result, obviously. You can
play yourself out of the tie in the first leg by not getting a good
result," said the England international.
"With us being away first, the away goal would be nice,
and then we come back and that gives you a bit of a cushion at home where you
want to keep a clean sheet."
Also read: Klopp won’t write off Liverpool UCL push
- Friendship on hold -
Dortmund eased past Premier League title hopefuls Tottenham
Hotspur 5-1 on aggregate in the last round, and the club's chief executive
Hans-Joachim Watzke says his friendship with Klopp will be set aside until the
"We will be clear opponents on Thursday, there is no
need for mucking around in a friendship," Watzke told German broadcaster
"My concern is that he will bring the (home) fans to
his side and create a atmosphere like you get in a friendly."
Unlike Liverpool, whose Champions League hopes rest solely
on Europa League glory, Dortmund sealed their return to Europe's premier club
competition next season with Saturday's 3-2 victory over Werder Bremen in the
Elsewhere, holders Sevilla continue their quest for a fifth
title in the past decade as they head to Athletic Bilbao for the first leg of
their all-Spanish tie.
Sevilla striker Fernando Llorente spent nine years in
Athletic's first team and the Spain international admitted it would be a night
of mixed emotions at San Mames.
"It was a surprise having to face the club where I
started playing but it will be nice. It will be strange as well, though,
because I spent 17 wonderful years of my life in Bilbao," Llorente told
"Sevilla have a real desire to win this competition. It
would be unique and quite incredible, because I don't think any team have done
it three years in a row."
Villarreal tightened their grip on fourth place in La Liga
over the weekend and welcome Sparta Prague, conquerors of Lazio in the previous
round, to Spain for Thursday's first leg.
Meanwhile, Braga will look to shake off last Friday's 5-1
thrashing at Benfica as the 2011 finalists host Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar
Donetsk, the 2009 champions, in Portugal.For
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