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Next

Liverpool can show their improvement since Europa final loss - Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp has urged Liverpool to show Sevilla how much they have improved since the Liga side beat them in the 2016 Europa League final.

Liverpool face Sevilla in their Group E Champions League opener at Anfield on Wednesday in the first meeting between the sides since they lost 3-1 in Basel.

"I think we have proved already that we are stronger than we were in the final," Klopp said.

"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.

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"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."

Sevilla have started their 2017-18 campaign unbeaten under new coach Eduardo Berizzo, who replaced Jorge Sampaoli, now the Argentina coach, in the summer.

Klopp has yet to defeat Sevilla in five attempts as a manager and said he was wary of the threat they would pose.

"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,'" he added.

"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."

Meanwhile, Leicester City midfielder Vicente Iborra said he expected "a very complicated game" when his former side Sevilla face the Merseysiders.

Iborra said he believed Philippe Coutinho could be the difference if he returns to the Liverpool side.

"I think it's going to be a very complicated game for both sides," he told Onda Cero radio. "They are two very good teams and we are going to see a great game. I think it will finish 2-1 for Sevilla.

"Liverpool are physical, strong at the back and have fast players up front. We shall see if Coutinho plays or not but whoever plays, they will be dangerous."

Iborra said Coutinho was "a different player, with a superior quality" and "at any moment he can make the difference in a game."

Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.

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