Liverpool are clear underdogs going up against Germany’s second best side in the Europa League tonight, but under Jürgen Klopp this season the Reds have shown they can be effective against top sides, and the fans can point to stirring victories over Chelsea and Manchester City early in Klopp’s tenure as proof.
Midfielder James Milner is of a similar mindset, and the club's vice-captain says that he and his teammates are confident of getting a result tonight—and not just a result, but a win. A draw might not be a bad result, but Liverpool will be looking to win the match, no matter that they’re playing on the road and facing off against a side almost universally considered the best remaining in the Europa League.
"I don’t think we have to score," said Milner when asked what Liverpool's goal is heading into tonight's marquee match against Dortmund. "Nil-nil would still be a good result, but an away goal is important, and if we can score it puts us in a strong position for the second game. We’ll go out trying to win. It’s the way we play. We’ll be positive, try to stop them playing, and get our away goal."
It all sounds so simple when it's set out like that. Be positive; stop them playing; score. Dortmund, though, demolished a Tottenham side that stands second in England and well above Liverpool to get to the quarter-finals, beating them 5-1 on aggregate. And Dortmund have scored more in domestic competition than even Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich. This is an opponent that few have stopped.
Liverpool will have to find a way, though, if they're to keep their dreams of silverware and a return to the Champions League alive, and so the players and fans will have to look back to those victories over the likes of Chelsea and City and even Manchester United—victories and performances that exceeded the expectations of most heading into them—hoping for another big performance in another big game.
"Ultimately the Champions League is where we want to be, but this is another pathway for us," added Milner. "It’s very important for Liverpool to do well in Europe with the history of the club. The hunger of all the players and the staff at the club is there. We came to this club to win trophies and be involved in big games. This is definitely a big game."