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Champions League

Klopp happy with Liverpool development ahead of Porto clash

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp during a press conference before the Champions League quarter-final clash with Porto

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailed his side’s development in European competition ahead of their Champions League quarter-final against Porto.

Speaking at a pre-match press conference, he said: “Our development has been incredible. The Europa League ride was brilliant until Basel (2016 final loss to Sevilla) and the Champions League was exactly the same until Kiev (2018 final loss to Real Madrid).

“We have much more positive moments in these competitions than negative. And that helps the team but that doesn’t mean anything for the game tomorrow night, only that we are now a bit more experienced and we saw that in the second game against Bayern (in the last 16).

“Everyone was like, when we drew here in the 0-0 first leg that ‘that’s not enough’. We didn’t even think it. It was clear we had a chance in Munich and we used that chance. Now we have to face Porto with exactly the same respect, nothing is different.”

Klopp is wary of the threat of Porto, who Liverpool beat in the last 16 last season thanks to a 5-0 away win.

“They are a very experienced team, they are together with Benfica first in the table in Portugal,” Klopp added. “Really strong side, more experienced than last season, so it’s a different game to last year. We have to play it again and we want to play it again.

“We were very clinical that night (the 5-0 win). But they can use the game last year as a motivational thing, we cannot do that.

“When we analysed them (Porto) last season no-one thought it would be 5-0 but in that situation we were difficult to deal with. It can be a bit of a wild game as they are good at counter-pressing, creative in midfield and full-backs are good crossers.”

Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk admits his side are favourites to reach the semi-finals.

“I think Liverpool as a club, if you look at the whole season and results at Anfield especially, we will go into tomorrow as favourites,” Van Dijk said. “We have to enjoy it and perform.

“We know it will be tough. They (Porto) don’t want to experience what they experienced last year.”

Van Dijk added on a potential Premier League and Champions League double: “We are still in both races so it’s possible.

“It’s game-by-game. Tomorrow we hopefully set a base to take with us to Porto. In the Premier League we know any slip can end our title dreams.

“We should play with freedom otherwise we can’t show our qualities properly. But I don’t think there’s room for slip-ups in the Champions League either.

“Hopefully (it is our time). Hopefully it can be great at the end of the season.”


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