Jurgen Klopp has challenged his squad to create their own history as he promised Liverpool will hit Manchester City with all-out attack.
Neither Liverpool nor City wanted an all Premier League meeting at this stage of the Champions League but Klopp believes the stage is set for a clash in the last eight that will highlight the ‘best of football’, particularly as Pep Guardiola is committed to going for goals.
City, who are three points away from being crowned domestic champions, are chasing a treble but Liverpool have been without silverware since 2012 and Klopp recognises that the time has come to stop harking back to past triumphs.
Jurgen Klopp has challenged his Liverpool team to create history in the Champions League
Klopp looks on as his side trained on Tuesday before the quarter-final with Manchester City
This clash with City has conjured memories of the dramatic Champions League semi-final with Chelsea in 2005 but Klopp does not want to look back and wants the current players to appreciate the opportunity that is before them.
‘This club is already full of history and we have to write our own,’ said Klopp, ‘I meet people who can tell me each goal Liverpool scored 37 years ago in the 56th minute (of a game). This team we need to be proud of our history but we need to create our own history.
‘I did that a lot in the past with my former teams: at one point you need to do your own things. It is a big opportunity for football. Not for us, not for City – for football to show a really high level what this game is about. It’s cool.
‘There is no reason to make the game bigger than it is: it is a quarter-final in the Champions League. It is just a big job to do. If you want go far in this competition it is clear you would face the best teams in the world. Sitting back is no a solution against City. That is how it is.’
Andy Robertson has played down expectations, claiming Liverpool are underdogs
Andrew Robertson, Liverpool’s left-back, claimed that his team were the ‘underdogs’ and that all the pressure was on City but Kevin De Bruyne, disputed that and at one point referred to Klopp’s front three of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane as being ‘like a juggernaut’.
Guardiola was similarly complimentary about the only team to have beaten them in the Premier League this season but, referring back to the helter-skelter 4-3 clash in January, he was adamant that would not change his thinking.
‘Of course I consider the value of Liverpool,’ said Guardiola. ‘I know their qualities and I’m concerned of what they do. I’m not so arrogant to know what they do. But if you’re thinking we are going to defend 90 minutes and counter attack – that is not going to happen.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is wary of the threat Liverpool pose on Wednesday
‘Maybe if we defend 90 minutes it’s because Liverpool are unstoppable. But why should it change when we are going well so far? Liverpool respect what football means. They will try to attack and we are going to try too. I am sure it is going to be a good game.’
Klopp’s preparations for the game have been disrupted. He revealed that Joel Matip, the Cameron defender, has suffered a season ending injury which leaves him with just Virgil Van Dijk and Dejan Lovren as the only fit centre-halves. Emre Can (back) and Adam Lallana (hamstring) are also out.
But City, who will train at Everton’s Goodison Park on Wednesday, also suffered a setback with Sergio Aguero not deemed fit enough to make the short journey to Merseyside. Guardiola, whose team trained at Anfield on Tuesday night, offered no indication whether he would be ready for Saturday’s Manchester derby.
‘He did not come with us,’ said Guardiola. ‘He is still not fit. He is much, much better but he still has a bit of a problem.’
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates scoring for Liverpool in their 4-3 win over Manchester City at Anfield earlier this season – City’s only league defeat in the campaign