Jurgen Klopp faces awkward meeting as Liverpool Europa League rival vents anger

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp faces an extremely awkward meeting with LASK head coach Thomas Sageder when the two teams reunite in the Europa League on November 30. The Austrian coach has bluntly explained that he is ‘starting to dislike’ Klopp in a brutal takedown.

Sageder has taken exception to criticism from Klopp after Liverpool’s 3-1 win over LASK on September 21. The German criticised the state of the pitch after watching his side cruise to victory in Europe.

“The atmosphere is great but the pitch is really bad, so I’m glad we didn’t play here in December,” Klopp said in his post-match press conference. “It was a great experience. Really loved the atmosphere.”

Klopp also appears to have got under the skin of his LASK counterpart by fielding a weaker team in Thursday’s defeat to Toulouse in France. Having generally rotated his starting 11 for Europa League matches, including against LASK, the German has split opinion among his rivals.

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Sageder has now revealed that he is ‘starting to dislike’ Klopp due to the rotated teams and perceived criticism of LASK’s groundspeople. “What can I say, I’m slowly starting to dislike him,” the 40-year-old said.

“Now he’s setting up a [rotated] team and in our case he’s criticising the groundskeeper. But we have the opportunity to show what we think about it anyway.”

Liverpool welcome LASK to Anfield on November 30 in what could be an awkward reunion for Klopp and Sageder. The Reds head coach has clearly wound up his rival, with Sageder promising his team will use Klopp’s words and behaviour as motivation when they travel to Merseyside.

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A 3-2 loss in Toulouse on Thursday ruined Liverpool’s previously unblemished record in Group E. Despite fielding a heavily rotated team for most matches, Klopp’s side had won three in three before travelling to France.

Liverpool were unfortunate not to come away with a point after Jarell Quansah’s added-time goal was controversially ruled out. Alexis Mac Allister was ruled to have handled the ball in the build-up.

Five points ahead of third-place Union Saint-Gilloise, Liverpool – one of the tournament favourites – can wrap up the group with victory over LASK later this month. If they fail to do so, they will have another chance to reach the knockout rounds when they face USG on December 14.

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