Liverpool have a stern test set in front of them on Wednesday when the league leaders travel to Anfield for the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals. It’s the first time that the Reds have made it this far into the prestigious competition since the 2008-2009 campaign. It’s reasonable to think that there may be some nerves at play, especially given the season that Pep Guardiola’s men have had this season.
Still, Liverpool came out the victors the last time the two teams faced off, proving that City aren’t invisible after all.
Jürgen Klopp, in his press conference ahead of the big game, said that his players need to be brave in order to win.
“They are the best team in Europe at the moment and so that makes it quite difficult,” he said. “What they do, they do at the highest level, but we still know there’s a chance, it is possible to defend it. If you are brave, if you are ready to make mistakes, if you are ready to enjoy the work and your attitude is at the highest level, if your character is at the highest level, then you have a chance. That’s the only thing I need.
“They are special in a lot of ways - creativity, decision making, mixed up with speed and rhythm breaks, that’s quite special, but in the end it is limited by players and pitch size. We know what we have to do.”
Liverpool find themselves short on options in the defense and midfield, thanks to some injuries to key players. However, their impressive, dangerous attack is still razor sharp, with Salah, Firmino, and Mané all in top form.
“It’s difficult to be brave against them because you can suffer,” he continued. “Pep couldn’t play the football he plays without these players. He’s smart enough to bring them all together. I couldn’t play the football I play without my players because if I say ‘Go there when we have the ball’ and they have no speed then it makes no sense.
“You need to have a plan for your players and then it is a mix of quality and character. Sitting back is not a solution against City. Be there where there is a chance to get the ball. If we can win it then we have a chance. If not? It is very, very difficult.”
The one thing we can be sure about is that this game will be difficult. Hopefully, though, it will be the Liverpool of January who shows up, instead of the Liverpool of September.