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Liverpool Boss, Klopp Says Team Capable Of Winning Europa League

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LIVERPOOL have a good chance of making the Europa League last 16 following a goalless draw in the first leg of their tie with Augsburg.

The Reds had marginally the better of a largely dour game in Germany.

Daniel Sturridge had a deflected shot saved and fluffed an effort from six yards out from James Milner’s cross.

Former Sunderland player Ji Dong-won came close to giving Augsburg an advantage for next Thursday’s second leg with a shot that hit the post.

Barring deflected shots from Sturridge and Roberto Firmino, both of which were saved by home goalkeeper Marwin Hitz, and an injury to Augsburg top-scorer Raul Bobadilla, there was little to report about a forgettable first half.

It was more entertaining after the break as the visitors came out with greater intent and would have led but for Sturridge’s early miss from close range.

Hitz also had to be alert to prevent a deflection off home defender Paul Verhaegh finding the net following a Liverpool free-kick.

However, Augsburg, who reached the German top flight for the first time in 2011 but are in relegation trouble this season, could and probably should have won the game in the final 15 minutes.

Stafylidis found space in the box but poked wide of the far post before Ji’s well-struck effort hit the outside of the upright and went wide.

The match was Liverpool’s manager Jurgen Klopp’s first in his native Germany since taking over at Anfield in October.

Prior to that, he spent seven years as Borussia Dortmund boss, leading them to two Bundesliga titles and the Champions League final in 2012-13.

His ambition this season is to reach Europe’s premier club competition and with the Reds currently nine points off the Premier League’s top four, winning the Europa League is probably his best chance of achieving this aim.

And the biggest positive he can take from this game is that his team retain a serious interest in this competition in a month that also sees them face Manchester City in the League Cup final.

Klopp is ‘not a patient man’

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp: “We should be realistic about the result, that’s OK in a European away game. We could have scored goals but as a performance I am not satisfied.

“We fight for consistency and played like this in the game, but we always let them come back in the game and that’s not necessary. I’m not 100% happy about this game.

“My problem is that, with our quality, we should have had more. I have to be patient, but I’m not a patient man, not really. My feeling is we could have done better.”

What next?

Liverpool are out of the FA Cup and so do not play this weekend. The return leg with Augsburg at Anfield is their next game on Thursday, 25 February, followed by the League Cup final three days later. – BBC Sport

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