Jurgen Klopp sets out ambitious Liverpool target for Real Madrid clash; keen to avoid ‘proper knock’
Jurgen Klopp admits progression in the Champions League is unlikely but has made it clear Liverpool will give it a good go against Real Madrid.
The Reds will arrive at the Bernabeu with the proverbial mountain to climb. A promising start to the first leg of the last-16 tie ended in a disastrous 5-2 defeat at Anfield. Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema both scored twice while Eder Militao also got on the score sheet.
Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah had put the hosts 2-0 up within 14 minutes. But they were then blown away, with Klopp admitting after the match that Real would advance in the competition.
That seems the most likely scenario but the German tactician issued a rallying cry ahead of the contest.
“We have nothing to lose, it’s a better situation than when you can lose everything,” he told reporters, via Liverpool Echo. “We can lose a game, we’ve felt that before, we don’t like that.
“You can get a proper knock here. I would prefer Carlo’s situation; to defend a 3-0 lead.”
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And the Liverpool chief hopes that his charges can draw on the memory of the early part of the first leg.
“[We want to do] what we did in the 1st half but without the goals we conceded,” he added. “We probably won’t go through but 100% of the people here think we have no chance.
“If I am the only one who thinks we have a little, that’s fine. Complete outsider, that’s fine. It’s football.”
Klopp insists Liverpool in town to beat Real
It has been an up-and-down campaign for the north-west giants. Since the defeat to Los Blancos, they have beaten Manchester United 7-0 but lost 1-0 to struggling Bournemouth.
Inconsistency has been their Achilles heel but there is a sense that the shackles will be off on Wednesday night.
Klopp gave an honest assessment of the match situation after defeat on home soil on February 21.
But he was quick to stress that his men are not in the Spanish capital just to make up the numbers.
“What I said 3 weeks ago after the game was Madrid were through, now we know there’s a game to play,” he added.
“If there’s only 1% chance, we give it a try. We play a strong opponent and try to win it. That is possible. For that we’re here. We’ll see where it leads to.
“If we can surprise ourselves in a negative way we can surprise ourselves in a positive way too.
“It’s clear we’re not here telling Madrid: ‘Be careful, we’re coming’. But we’re here to win the game.”
Klopp in awe of ‘fantastic’ Real
Real look set to play second fiddle to Barcelona in LaLiga this season. They are nine points behind the Catalans in what is a two-horse race for the title.
However, Klopp feels the upcoming opposition have few weaknesses.
“They don’t lose conviction or confidence, it’s a massive skill for a team. Nothing can really excite them negatively,” he continued.
“Absolutely admirable. The way they play, we play differently, so it’s about the mentality, they have all my respect, a fantastic team.”
And the former Borussia Dortmund boss knows the size of the task that awaits his side.
“We have to be on top of our game just to win, not even to go through, so that is what we will try,” he said.
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