There are no easy games and Liverpool’s meeting with Manchester City for the Champions League is definitely the example of the rule.
As the only two English teams left in the CL, it was almost a foregone conclusion that they would be drawn together for the quarterfinal legs. The natural matchup that no one on either side wanted, but now are stuck with. Not to mention just barely three days before another Merseyside derby, things are really heating up for Liverpool.
Playing City this year has been two of the most difficult games so far, and neither manager was eager to repeat the legs but Jurgen Klopp has vowed Liverpool will be ready.
“We know it’s difficult. Did we think before the first game we would lose 5-0? No. Did we think before the second game we would win 4-3? No. Do we know we have a chance? Yes, that was clear before,” said Klopp recently.
“But they are the favourites. In specific moments, we are on a similar level but they do it much more consistent, that’s why they have around 20 points more. No problem with respecting that, but we all know, in this game, it doesn’t mean too much.
“We see our chance but we know it will be unbelievably difficult. But if I have the choice to watch a Champions League game, I would watch this one. It’s about tactics but there will be fire, that’s cool. It’s at Anfield so a good atmosphere to watch.”
Liverpool just struggled through a 2-1 win against Crystal Palace on Saturday, and it could’ve been argued that their minds were elsewhere but Klopp is adamant that that wasn’t the case. If it was, due more to the international break than anything else.
“I don’t think that anybody for one second thought about the game on Wednesday,” the manager continued.
“I know my boys well enough. The first players came back on Tuesday, didn’t train, then you have a recovery day and a second recovery day. It means the first session was Thursday.
“All the others – apart from the Dutch guys, they played Monday – all the others only trained on Friday. Roberto Firmino didn’t play half an hour (for Brazil), Mo Salah didn’t play the second game (for Egypt).
“It’s the mood you are in. You go there, you prepare and the manager tells you ‘I want to see a few others’ so you stay out. Then they come here and it’s kind of a battle again for everything. Then you come to Crystal Palace and you need to be spot on.
“Football is a lot like cycling, you can miss it, it can happen and then you have to remind yourself constantly. That’s why I’m really happy we won, but I really don’t think there was any influence from Wednesday.”
There are no doubts that the pressure is on for Liverpool, with the Champions League their last chance to really give it to City and potentially win a trophy in the process. Now with a few more days of training than they got before Palace, the Reds will be ready for battle on Wednesday on their home turf.