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Klopp Says Liverpool Can’t Take Champions League Advancement for Granted

The Liverpool boss says his Reds can’t make the mistake of thinking their two-goal lead is safe against Benfica.

SL Benfica v Liverpool FC Quarter Final Leg One - UEFA Champions League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Over the weekend, Liverpool kept pace a point off Manchester City thanks to a thrilling 2-2 draw with their title rivals. Next weekend, they face City in the FA Cup semi-final. And on Wednesday, they play Benfica in the Champions League.

With a two-goal advantage heading into the second leg, it might be easy to think the focus would be elsewhere. Jürgen Klopp isn’t having any of that, saying his Reds have worked too hard to reach this stage to take anything for granted.

“We have a super intense schedule but there’s nobody injured at the moment,” Klopp began at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday. “But still we have to look at who is fresh enough for this because this is a super important game.

“For people who don’t know football they would maybe say you won the first game 3-1, you’re half way through, and you play City either side. Maybe you could be with the focus somewhere else. We see it slightly different to be honest.

“This is a super, super important game to us. We tried so hard last year to get qualified for the Champions League and now we can make it to the semis which is incredible and we want to show tomorrow night that that means a lot to us.”

Klopp further clarified some rest and rotation may be necessary, but if it is then it will be because of Sunday’s exertions against City and with the goal of putting out the freshest and most capable eleven, not with an eye to the next game.

If Liverpool hold on to their advantage and advance, they will face the winner of Bayern Munich vs. Villarreal—a tie most assumed the Germans would take easily but which currently sees the La Liga side a goal up after the first leg.