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Liverpool Through To Europa League Knockout Phase

A scoreless draw against FC Sion on Thursday was all Liverpool needed to win their group and move on to the Europa League knockout phase.

The game was rather uneventful with both teams struggling to create clear cut scoring chances on the poor playing surface at the Tourbillon Stadium. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted that the game wasn’t his team’s best performance, but that they did what was needed.

“It was difficult because the ground was very difficult to play on for both teams,” Klopp told liverpoolfc.com after the game.

“The first thing to do tonight was to show character and show that you’re prepared for a game like this. That’s what my team did, so I’m really satisfied. Nobody is injured and they were very focused and concentrated on the game, so everything is okay.

“It was not the football we all know, our best football, but we also know that although it’s an outdoor sport, frozen ground is for other sports usually.”

Klopp continued: “Sion can play better too, so for both teams it was not easy – it was really, really difficult to play here.

“I am not surprised about their quality and it had influence on our game, but in football you have to take and accept the circumstances. In England we sometimes have wind and rain, but we cannot say we will stay inside – we have to play. That’s what we did today and everything is okay.”

Liverpool won Group B on 10 points with a record of two wins and four draws. Sion finished second with nine points. Klopp was happy to come out at the top of the group, but expects that competition to stiffen up in the knockout phase.

“That’s where we wanted to be after the game and that’s what we’ve done,” Klopp said. “A few weeks ago it was far away for us to reach this position, but we’ve done it, which is really good.

“We’ll see how important it is – there are a lot of very good teams in second place in the Europa League groups and good teams who have come in from the Champions League.

“Everybody who thought this tournament is not a first-class tournament will have to change their mind now – everyone will see it’s something like a mini Champions League. I am looking forward to the draw and we’ll see what happens.”

The draw for the knockout stage takes place on Monday.

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