The Borussia Dortmund-Liverpool Europa League showdown was not only a battle of former European champions and two clubs who share a special bond -- they even sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" at the
Westfalenstadion -- it marked the return of Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp
to Dortmund, where he led BVB to back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012.
For once, the game lived
up the hype that included a Klopp-Cam so German fans could follow Klopp's every gesticulation.
Liverpool took the lead on a goal by Belgian Divock Origi
late in the first half,
responded for Dortmund, but the Ruhr club needed three saves in short succession
by keeper Roman Weidenfeller
all over the place in his best Klopp imitation, to keep the score knocked at 1-1 at the end of the first leg. (American Christian Pulisic
even got into the game.)
had downplayed his return home -- and Liverpool's chances.
“I don’t think about my situation for one second,” he said. “I prepare my team, that’s why I am
here at a place where I had a wonderful time. It is better to be here than, I don’t know, North Korea or something. It feels good.”
Klopp, hired to replace Brendan
in October, hasn't exactly been a savior at Anfield -- Liverpool is ninth in the EPL -- but a Europa League title would put the Reds in the Champions League next season. He wasn't let
alone jump ahead of himself before the game.
“I don’t think we are favorites to win the title at this moment," he said, "but if we beat Dortmund then we become something like
favorites but then it still depends on the other teams left in the competition. I don’t think in these categories."
Still, the match was termed one of the most emotional ever played
at the Westfalenstadion and left
Klopp believing Liverpool can achieve something in the second leg.
"Anfield Road will burn," he said. "It's going to be special. We have something to play for. Not many expected that."