In the Champions League, the standard wisdom is that it’s better to have the second leg at home in the knockout rounds, something Liverpool didn’t manage when they drew Manchester City in the quarter finals with the first leg at Anfield.
Former Red Dirk Kuyt, though, believes Liverpool can turn that into an advantage, using the Anfield crowd to help push them to a lead that would turn City into underdogs to advance when the two sides face off in the second leg at The Etihad.
“Always people say, ‘it’s better to play away first,’” Kuyt noted in an interview with the the club’s official website. “But if we beat City in the first game with maybe one or two goals difference, then the mental game at City will be totally different.
“I think it’s great to play the first game at Anfield, to show who we are in the same style we did in the league game. Then we will have a great chance to win at Anfield, and we will see [what happens] when we go to the City stadium without any fear.”
A win at Anfield, though, will be easier said than done against these opponents—City, after all, have fully earned their massive lead at atop the Premier League. They’re a difficult opponent, perhaps even the most difficult opponent Liverpool could have drawn.
Still, for all that it’s a very tough draw for Liverpool, for City too there likely wasn’t a side they would have less liked to face than a Reds one that has proven this season they can go toe-to-toe with the presumptive English champions—and win.
“I think the lads have shown a great performance in the league at Anfield,” Kuyt added. “It was one of the best performances of the season with a great result, and if they can do the same they have a great chance to qualify.
“Of course it is very difficult because City is not only one of the best teams in the Premier League, but also one of the best in Europe. But I think at Anfield, Liverpool doesn’t have to be afraid of any team.”