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Klopp Talk: “Atletico Challenge One of the Biggest in Football”

Liverpool got the hardest possible draw in Atletico Madrid. Now they need a strong performance and Anfield’s help.

Liverpool FC Press Conference And Training Session Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Even with Atletico Madrid struggling for form, even against a side not quite up to Diego Simeone’s best, it was always going to be a difficult Round of 16 tie for Liverpool. It always looked as hard a draw as they could have got.

If there’s one side in Europe you would count on to mount a comeback, though, it’s this Liverpool side, and manager Jürgen Klopp believes he saw enough good things in the first leg to believe that his side is still very much in it.

“We had good situations but we played against a team who are probably the best at deep defending,” Klopp noted. “They scored a goal where they were slightly lucky and we were unlucky, but that’s how football is sometimes.

“The challenge against Atletico, it was always clear from the first moment, was one of the biggest in football. They will not go out with the white flag, they fight until the end, and that is also what we do. That’s why it’s so interesting.”

The bad news for Liverpool is that they’re down a goal. The good news is that they’re only down that one goal. A 1-0 deficit on aggregate. And this time around they’re playing at home, at Anfield, in front of their own supporters.

Atletico frustrated the Reds before, but they didn’t outplay them, and now the advantage should shift in favour of Klopp’s players with Anfield behind them—though in the end it will come down to their performance on the pitch.

“It’s half-time, that’s the best news,” the Liverpool manager added. “So we like that, we learn from the first half, we show the boys a few situations, and we improve. I think a lot of things are now much clearer than they were before.

“A couple of advantages that we didn’t have there are now on our side. That we have our crowd will be an advantage, that they don’t have their crowd will be another advantage, that’s just how it is and so we have to use it.

“We have to produce a performance on the pitch that has to be exceptional, absolutely. But not a lot of them have played in a stadium like Anfield, in an atmosphere like we can create, and that’s something that we want to use.”

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