Liverpool turn their attention from the league to Europe tomorrow evening as they face Porto in the Champions League quarter finals, and while that’s a big deal for the club and fans, for most it is the league that remains the priority this season.
Which means, with how the schedule shakes out, Liverpool may need to put the two-legged tie to rest at Anfield tomorrow, having had a solid three days off following the Southampton match and with a four day break then before they take on Chelsea.
“It’s a good situation we are in but we know how difficult a situation it is,” Jürgen Klopp said at his pre-match press conference. “We are looking forward to the challenges we face in the coming weeks and it will be a big challenge against Porto tomorrow.”
While their schedule sets up favourably for tomorrow, the second leg at Porto could prove more difficult, with just two days for the players to recover from Chelsea—and knowing that the league is the priority. Last season it was rather the other way around.
Last season, Jürgen Klopp was able to consistently run out his strongest lineup in Europe on the way to an unexpected Champions League final appearance. To keep them fresh he rotated in the league, and Liverpool did drop points as a result of that.
This season, there is no margin for error in the league. There can be no dropped points. And so it is the priority. Which is fine this week, with plenty of time between games. It might not be next week if the tie is tight and the players tired from Chelsea.
“We have to face Porto with respect,” Klopp added. “They were spectacular against Roma and are a very experienced side, more experienced than last year. It’s a different game to last year and we have to play it again—we want to play it again.
“It’s important for the club and important for the team so let’s try to do it again. We have to pretty much win all our games now. We have to play all in all the time. We have to be spot on, have to recover and then prepare the boys to go again.
“It’s warm outside, spring is coming, and we are still in two competitions so it’s good. We are in a good moment but there are other teams as well and we are all playing for a lot. It will be tough but that’s how it should be.”