Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is wary of the threat posed by Sevilla, who he has credited for playing ‘real football’.
The German manager has yet to defeat the Andalucian side in five attempts as manager and believes they sum up exactly what makes Spanish sides so strong in Europe.
“I know when the draw was made people were saying we are lucky with the group, but then you watch Sevilla and analyse them and think: ‘Oh my God, that’s real football,’” Klopp told his pre-match press conference.
“A good mixture of technical skills, good match plans, different match plans, this mixture of being cool, being good footballers and being ugly — how Spanish teams are.
“They are not shy in challenges and things like this. This is a real challenge for us, but we want to be there so much and now we have to show what we are.”
The Champions League opener is a repeat of the 2016 Europa League final, where Los Rojiblancos triumphed 3-1 after falling a goal behind.
“I think we have proved already that we are stronger than we were in the final,” Klopp continued.
“At the time it was a terrible defeat but we took a big step. We have changed a lot of things since the final, but it is always this way and they have made progress too.
“Last season was another very successful season for them, so it is a really interesting challenge for us.
“For me, the most important thing is that this is a proper Champions League game, not Europa League, not a final from two years ago, it is real Champions League.”