Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says his side’s development in European competition “has been incredible” as they gear up to face Porto in the UEFA Champions League tonight.
The Reds will host the Portuguese side in a first-leg clash at Anfield and come into the match high on confidence, having ousted Bayern Munich in the previous round and reclaimed top spot in the Premier League this past weekend.
“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),” said Klopp at his pre-match press conference on Monday.
“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.”