Jurgen Klopp has promised that his Liverpool players will not underestimate Porto in Wednesday night’s second leg of their Champions League quarter-final.
Liverpool are firm favourites to advance to a semi-final against Barcelona as they go into the match with a 2-0 lead from last week’s meeting at Anfield, and having triumphed 5-0 at the same stadium in the same competition last February.
The feelgood factor is as strong as ever around Liverpool as they continue their pursuit of a league and Champions League double.
But after hearing opposite number Sergio Conceicao say they at times play as ‘the best team in the world’, Klopp told his players it is far too soon to be patting themselves on the back yet.
‘We’re not here to celebrate our situation,’ he said. ‘We are here to go to the next round.
‘The season is not finished in this competition. We have to fight really hard.
‘Porto have won all their home games [in the Champions League] so far, we know they are really dominating in the home games.’
Fourteen months ago Sadio Mane’s hat-trick helped Liverpool to a rout in the first leg of their last 16 clash against Porto, but Klopp dismissed the importance of what he called a ‘strange’ match when it came to planning for Wednesday night.
‘I didn’t like the last game because it was really strange,’ he said. ‘Until we were 2-0 up it was a really open game. We don’t remember things like this, we only face the result, 5-0.
‘But my players are not silly, they do not underestimate things like this. Porto are a good team.
‘We were really good in the first leg and we will have to be really good tomorrow again. We will have to play at our limit, 100%, and not try to come through somehow because then you cannot stand the power they can create here.
‘I was here for the derby, Porto versus Sporting a few years ago. We think we only have derbies in Germany or in England, but then you come to Portugal, and they are loud here. They know how to influence a game and influence an opponent and we have to be ready.’
Dejan Lovren has not travelled with the Liverpool squad, but Klopp confirmed Joe Gomez will be fit to feature from the bench, having not played for the first team since suffering a leg fracture in December.
‘His fitness levels are getting better and better,’ he said. ‘If he can start and play 90 minutes in the Champions League I don’t know, but can he come on when he is needed? Yes. That will be possible and that’s the most important thing.
‘Having a player with the quality of Joe, remember the season he played before he got injured – that was incredible, so we’re really happy he’s back.’
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