Apr 07, 2016

    Klopp plots happy 'homecoming'


    JUERGEN Klopp makes his eagerly anticipated return to Borussia Dortmund tonight when his Liverpool side visit the German giants in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final clash.

    He spent seven years at Dortmund, guiding them to a pair of Bundesliga titles as well as the 2013 Champions League final.

    But he 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 they can stand up to Dortmund.

    "We don't fear anyone and we've proved this year we can beat anyone," he told Liverpool's official website.

    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 securing a favourable result at Signal Iduna Park is vital.

    "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.

    Dortmund eased past Premier League title hopefuls Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 on aggregate in the last round. The club's chief executive, Hans-Joachim Watzke, said his friendship with Klopp will be set aside until the final whistle.

    "We will be clear opponents on Thursday, there is no need for mucking around in a friendship," Watzke told German broadcaster ZDF.

    "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 Bundesliga.

    Meanwhile, Roberto Firmino remains doubtful for the quarter-final, with the forward yet to fully recover from a hamstring problem, according to The Guardian.

    He has been sidelined by an injury sustained in the last-16 tie at Man U on March 17.

    He failed a late fitness test before the Premier League draw with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.