Jürgen Klopp: We’ll need Anfield on its toes for 90 minutes again tonight
Jürgen Klopp believes FC Porto will sense ‘an opportunity’ to avenge last season’s Champions League elimination at the hands of Liverpool tonight, but feels Anfield can give his side an edge in the first leg of the quarter-final tie.
The Reds defeated the Portuguese champions 5-0 at the Estadio do Dragao in the initial meeting of the last-16 encounter last term, before a goalless draw in the return on Merseyside assured safe passage into the next stage of the competition.
However, the manager feels Porto will use the memories of that experience as a catalyst to try to ‘strike back’ this time around.
Writing in his column in the official matchday programme, Klopp said: “Of course, it was only last season that Porto visited, so I’m sure all our visitors from Portugal will be re-acquainting themselves with the wonderful city of Liverpool. I heard last time they were the perfect visitors and I’m sure they will bring joy into Merseyside again as they see what this area has to offer.
“Sergio [Conceicao] continues to do an incredible job at Porto and like ourselves they are locked in a fascinating domestic title race against a very competitive opponent. We know from experience how difficult Roma are to progress against in the Champions League, so we only need to look at their last round to see their power and threat.
“I think the fact we met last season doesn’t affect much for this game because everything is new and fresh. They are better, but then so are we.
“As a coach and a sportsperson I would guess the only real factor of influence would be greater motivation for Porto. Motivation actually isn’t the right word – because this is the quarter-finals of the best club football competition in the world, so all remaining eight teams have maximum motivation already.
“Maybe opportunity is the right term. Facing us 12 months on gives them the opportunity to strike back, which in this competition you don’t always get in the immediate season or seasons that follow. So we will be aware that Porto will have the maximum motivation plus extra and we know that makes an already outstanding football team even better.