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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Liverpool stars deserve Ballon d'Or nominations, says Klopp

Liverpool have seven players on the Ballon d'Or shortlist, with Jürgen Klopp insisting all are fully worthy of the accolade.

Liverpool stars worthy of Ballon d'Or nominations - Klopp

Jürgen Klopp feels Liverpool's seven nominees for the Ballon d'Or are fully deserving of the accolade, though he does not feel any personal pride for the players' individual achievements. Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum were all named on a 30-man shortlist for the annual award on Monday.

The nominations follow on from an incredible 2018-19 campaign for the Champions League winners, with Klopp's side also finishing second to Manchester City in a thrilling Premier League title race. Speaking ahead of his team's Champions League group stage game against Genk on Wednesday, Klopp has no doubt Liverpool's stars are worthy contenders for the honour.

Klopp: "I'm always pleased when the boys do well"

"It's nice. I don't understand or know too much about these kinds of things. When you win it is big but when you don't win it hopefully it doesn't hurt too much," Klopp told a news conference this evening. "It's a very good sign but after last season it is normal that a lot of players have to be nominated. I'm proud in general of the boys 100 per cent, but I didn't feel proud in that moment. I'm happy when they win things. I'm not sure if I should be proud in a moment like this, I had not so much to do with that. I'm proud of the football we play but no more."

Klopp is also unsure if the success of Liverpool's nominees will result in more top-level players wishing to join the club, though suggested none of his current squad will be leaving Anfield in the near future. "Our seven players all deserve it. If that's the sign for us from now on, and if we will be a destination for players, I do not know," Klopp added. "We all feel comfortable with each other, want to work together for the next couple of years or more. But we don't know, we will see what the future brings".

Liverpool's recent away record in the Champions League

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino in today's session at Melwood

Liverpool sit second in Group E heading into Wednesday's clash in Belgium, having lost to Napoli before beating Salzburg.  Despite making it to the final in 2017-18 and again last season, the Reds have won just one of their six away group stage matches under Klopp, who acknowledged that record must improve.

"Last year we were lucky the group was so tight that we could lose our away games and still have the chance to make it out of the group," Klopp said. "That will not happen this year. We don't rely on home games all the time but obviously European nights at Anfield are really special. However, other teams can make a special atmosphere as well. We could have won away games, performance wise, but for reasons we didn't win. Historically it is not good, the last two years. We know we have to improve and we try again and again until it works out."