Having surprised many by going toe-to-toe with a heavily favoured Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final last week, Liverpool head into the return leg at Anfield on Thursday confident that they can give a good account and secure advancement to the semi-finals.
Manager Jürgen Klopp, though, knows that when facing a side as good as Dortmund, a 1-1 scoreline and an away goal isn’t a massive advantage, and it certainly isn’t enough for Liverpool to try to scrape through on Thursday with a scoreless draw. To be safe, Liverpool need to score, and Klopp’s counting on the crowd to help.
"Dortmund can score goals anywhere they play," said the Liverpool manager at his pre-match press conference. "You can’t just try to keep the clean sheet. Maybe if it gets to 85 minutes the away goal matters, but not before then. The crowd will be more of an advantage than the away goal. If we win the game, we don’t need it."
Another performance like the one last Thursday and Liverpool will have every chance of winning the tie, no matter that Dortmund are one of the best sides in Europe, one that stand second in the Bundesliga to Bayern Munich and that comprehensively dismantled England’s number two side, Tottenham Hotspur, last round.
And as far as the fans go, the hope and expectation will be for a loud atmosphere at Anfield. Supporters are planning to greet the team bus for the first time since 2013-14’s title challenge, and around Liverpool there’s excitement for what’s being touted as the club’s most important match in at least two years now.
"Each game in the last few weeks has given us confidence," added Klopp. "We have had many games, but only in the second half against Southampton it was a step in the wrong direction. The rest, we’ve looked really consistent, believing more, growing as a group. We are better prepared now than when I started here."