It’s easy to get fired up for the big matches. Manchester City or United, Tottenham, the knockout rounds of the Champions League. At least most of the time. Against FC Porto in the second leg of a tie Liverpool are already up 5-0 in makes that a little harder.
At least that’s what manager Jürgen Klopp thinks, and because of that, he says that what his players show him in the game tonight against Porto will tell him more about their mentality and preparation than when they face Manchester United in four days time.
“This is a fantastic test for us, a big challenge,” Klopp noted in today’s home match program. “It doesn’t just test our ability, our skill, our fitness—it will test the most critical attribute of any side that wants to be successful—our mentality.
”How all of us—players, staff, and supporters—approach tonight will tell me more about where we are in our development than any game against a Manchester City, United, Spurs. These are the moments you really learn about an individual’s mindset.”
Klopp’s call for passion—and for not taking advancement to the next round for grated tonight—mirror’s the words of his captain, making it clear the club are all on the same page as they prepare to take on the Portuguese league leaders.
Talking about the need to be prepared, to be determined, and to be ready for an opponent who already appear beaten, though, can be easier said than done. Liverpool are talking a good game ahead of tonight’s match; now they have to go out and deliver.
“If I was in the FC Porto side this evening I would be looking forward to this match more than any other of my professional career,” Klopp added. “I would see the opportunity that is there. So, we must do more than simply mirror the passion and desire they will show.
“We must surpass it, we must be at a higher level—players, staff and supporters. We must prove tonight we want it more than they do; show that we are ruthless and relentless on the pitch, in the dugout, and in the stands.”