Manchester City need to score four goals on Tuesday to have a chance at advancing to the semi finals of the Champions League. If Liverpool score one, City need five. If Liverpool score two, City need six. The Reds may not have their spot in the next round locked up, but they do have one foot in it.
Manager Jürgen Klopp, though, isn’t taking anything for granted—and he’s seen how well City can play in attack and knows that if Liverpool approach the game like they’re already through it could well come back to haunt them. And he wants his players to go out there and score a few of their own.
“If you saw the first half of their game against United, maybe they should have scored six,” Klopp noted at his pre-match press conference about City’s most recent game, a 3-2 loss against their local rivals that was against the run of play. “They have a lot of quality, that won’t be a surprise for us.
“Now we have to try with all we have to use the good situation we have created with an outstanding performance. It will be a real football game, and that’s good, but the perfect scenario? If we score five it will be difficult for them! But it is about being stable, being lively, trying to cause them problems.”
Still, realistically, if Liverpool play well on Tuesday they will expect to advance. And if they score a few times that quickly goes from should to near certainty. While City are a dangerous and talented attacking side, knowing they need at least four should, in theory at least play into Liverpool’s hands.
Liverpool do well against teams that push forward and can be pressed as they do; they do well against teams that push up the pitch and leave space to counter into; they do well against uptempo opposition. City will do all of those things on Tuesday in search of the four or five or six goals they need.
City may be dangerous, and it may even be likely that they will score a goal or two, but even a goal or two isn’t too bad from a Liverpool perspective—especially not when it should lead to space for them to launch their own attacks and to maybe get a few goals of their own to further pad the aggregate.
“We have to cause them as many problems as we can,” Klopp added. “Then, if we do go through, it will be Madrid, Barcelona, and Bayern waiting probably—it will be quite intense!”