Jurgen Klopp has insisted there are no parallels to be drawn between the current Liverpool team and the one that made the Europa League final during his first season in 2016, insisting this squad is 'better prepared'.
Klopp took over as Liverpool manager in the autumn of 2015 and guided the Reds to the Europa League final at the end of his first season.
Despite memorable victories over Manchester United and Dortmund on the way to the final, the campaign ultimately ended in disappointment as Liverpool lost 3-1 to Sevilla in Basle.
The trip to LASK will mark the Reds' first Europa League tie since that defeat, with Klopp's side exclusively featuring in the Champions League in the intervening years.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference on Wednesday, the Liverpool manager played down comparisons between this season and his first on Merseyside, suggesting the class of 2023/24 are in a much better position to compete.
"My first year I thought the Europa League was a bit too much for us until we came to the final, because we played every day pretty much," Klopp said via Liverpoolfc.com.
"Wherever we had to fly to were long trips, coming back and trying to become a team somehow. The results helped obviously.
"We played in Switzerland, in Sion, it was, I’m not sure if it was artificial grass but it was a frozen pitch. I hope it will not be like that, to be honest.
"It was a different squad, we were actually not ready and we came somehow through. In the end in the quarter-finals and semi-finals we played outstandingly well, that’s true, but until then I don’t think we were exceptional, let me say it like this.
"But I wouldn’t compare it, it’s completely different. It’s a different time, a different team, we are better prepared for the competition. It doesn’t mean we will go to the final, it just means we are better prepared and we enjoy it more to be here than we did that time because we had no clue what we had to expect."
Klopp also doubled down on previous comments that he will not use the Europa League as a competition in which to hand chances to youngsters and fringe players, insisting that his side are in it to win it.
He added: "We are here to compete, not to give opportunities, for nobody: not for ours and not for them."