Two weeks ago, Liverpool brushed off a bad run of league games to hammer NK Maribor 7-0 away in Slovenia. The return leg is later today when the Reds host Maribor at Anfield. While confidence may be high after their heavy victory away, boss Jürgen Klopp warns his players against complacency.
“It’s all about our performance,” Klopp said. “We have to use the little advantage of being the home team, using the crowd, being spot on again.
“We did so well in Maribor and that was the reason for the result – not the quality of the opponent. At the end it looked like a big difference but it was only because of our start. We have to do that again.
“Being there from the first second should be easy to understand for the boys because we lost points in the first two games of the group. Everybody is close together. Nobody knows how the other game will go so we need to use this opportunity for us to win our home game and be in a better position.”
Finishing this week off with another Champions League victory will put Liverpool in a great place to win their group. It might be too much to ask for Maribor to roll over and give up seven goals again though.
Klopp himself expects a much closer match — which logic and odds tell you should be true, even if the hearts hopes differently.
“They are usually really well organised,” Klopp explained. “Our last game against Huddersfield will be a good reference for us.
“They will not open any gaps for us, they will not make it easy for us, they will fight for each yard - that’s clear. We have to do like we did in the first game. I think two or three of the goals were because of our pressing. They played and then we jumped in.
“The first goal especially was down to Mo (Salah) putting the left-back under pressure and using his speed. I don’t expect a lot of easy spaces. We'll have to work for this.”
They’ll have to work for it once again with Philippe Coutinho, who will miss out on another match as he continues to recover. While this is not ideal, the combination of Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge scored three goals against Huddersfield Town on Saturday.
With any luck, tonight will be the first home Champions League win of the Jürgen Klopp era, but only if the players can channel the kind of endeavor they showed last time against Maribor and in the second half against Huddersfield. When they’re switched on, it looks like nothing can stop them. Let’s see some more of that tonight, please.