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The Liverpool manager says this will be the most difficult group stage challenge his side has faced. It’s hard to disagree.

Whenever the groups for the Champions League are drawn at the end of each summer, there are always arguments. Arguments over which groups are toughest—and which clubs got fortunate and were given an easier draw and clearer path to the knockout rounds.

This year, the toughest is obvious: Liverpool’s. The Reds drew second into a group led by La Liga winners Atletico Madrid, Primeira Liga runners-up Porto, and Serie A second best AC Milan. As manager Jürgen Klopp noted, it’s the toughest group he’s faced with the Reds.

“This is the strongest group we have had since I’ve been at Liverpool for sure,” Klopp said. “With Dortmund, I faced Man City and Real Madrid, so this is a group that will keep two really good teams away from the knockout stages and send one to the Europa League.”

Tough, though, doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Especially for the fans. If the point of playing in Europe is to face off against the best, it doesn’t get any better than a group of the calibre Liverpool and their three upcoming opponents have been drawn into this season.

There will be no easy games in the 2021-22 Champions League’s Group B, home or away, and every point will feel more meaningful than most years at this stage in the competition—starting on Wednesday night for the Reds when they welcome Milan to Anfield.

“This group will be exciting from the first second to the last second,” Klopp added of the challenge his side faces. “And that’s exactly what we want.”

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