Roberto Firmino insists Liverpool are ready to take on all comers in the Champions League quarter-finals – and would relish an all-English showdown.
Jurgen Klopp’s side moved seamlessly into the last eight on Tuesday, having done the hard work in the first leg of their collision with Porto; a 0-0 draw secured a 5-0 aggregate success and ensured Liverpool registered their fifth clean sheet in seven matches.
This will be Liverpool’s first appearance in the quarter-finals since 2009 but there is a quiet confidence within the dressing room that the adventure can continue beyond the next stage and Firmino, one of the outstanding players in Europe this season, explained the belief.
Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino believes he and his team-mates can beat anyone
Liverpool have had an outstanding record against Premier League opposition when their paths have crossed – since 2005, they have eliminated Chelsea (twice), Manchester United and Arsenal at different points – and the 26-year-old feels they could do so again, if that is what the draw determines.
‘Yes, we’d like a draw against an English club,’ said Firmino, whose breakthrough performance for Liverpool came on the night he tormented Manchester United in the Europa League last 16 at Anfield two years ago, scoring in a 2-0 first leg win.
‘Why not? We have shown in the past few seasons we can beat all the English clubs. Our record is good against them. We feel we have played well against the top English clubs and shown we can beat them.
Liverpool made it past Porto to book their place in the last eight of the Champions League
‘But we are not afraid of anyone in the draw. We are not concerned who we get. We don’t mind. A top Spanish club? We are not afraid. I don’t think we have anything to fear from any side now. If you are in the draw (at this stage) then you cannot be afraid of anyone.
‘We feel we can beat any side on our day, and we don’t mind who we get. I think we are a team who will cause problems to others. They are all good teams (left in the draw). But I don’t think it matters (who we get). We are a good team; we can play the big Spanish teams and feel we can match them.’
Mohamed Salah has dominated the headlines for Liverpool this season but the form and contribution of Firmino cannot be overlooked and he will have the opportunity to showcase his talent this summer, with Brazil head coach Tite stressing he will be going to the World Cup.
Jurgen Klopp has guided the Reds to the quarter finals for the first time since 2008/09
‘That is nice,’ said Firmino, who has been involved in 33 goals for Liverpool in all competitions. ‘I want to be part of it and am I happy to be part of the squad. But that is a long away ahead. The season is not over. I have my objectives with Liverpool and I want to concentrate on them.
‘If I can do well, then that will be important for my position in the (national team) squad. There is still a lot to play for. We are in the Champions’ League and we believe we deserve to be in there.
Liverpool want to win a trophy. We are all concentrating on that, and that is the aim at this stage. We are doing well in the Premier League and we want that to continue and we are now in the Champions’ League quarter final and we want that to continue.’