Liverpool vs Porto: Jurgen Klopp calls for ‘exceptional’ Anfield atmosphere ahead of Champions League clash
Jurgen Klopp has called on Liverpool supporters to create an “exceptional” atmosphere when Porto visit Anfield on Wednesday night.
Klopp’s side have been in scintillating form in the Champions League this season, with four consecutive wins ensuring they will finish top of Group B with two games still to play.
But even though the match is essentially a dead rubber for Liverpool, it is anything but for Porto, who are second in the group but can still be usurped by Atletico Madrid or AC Milan for the final qualifying spot.
Klopp believes Porto’s motivation will be enhanced further by the humiliating 5-1 defeat they suffered at home to Liverpool in September, adding that his side can only match their Portuguese opponents with the help of the fans.
He said: “We know that our opponent will be motivated on the highest level for two main reasons. One is that we won there in a way that they didn’t like, and on the other hand, if they win the game tomorrow night, they have a final against Atletico in the last match of the group.
“It will be a difficult game for us and I really hope that Anfield is at its best. It’s the Champions League – you can never take it for granted. We need to be ready as a whole, all together, to put a proper fight out there.
“I have no explanation really for the result we had at Porto. Yes, we were really good in moments, but the last game was really unlucky for Porto.
“They were without their No 1 centre-half pairing, had an early injury in the game – all these things didn’t help. We scored in the wrong moments for them, so it all came together.
“But we prepare for an incredibly strong Porto team tomorrow. They have a lot to play for.
“What we need here at Anfield is an exceptional atmosphere from the first second. If we want to win the game tomorrow, we can only win it together, and that’s really important.
“I hope we can create this kind of atmosphere and then it will not be easy for Porto.”
Wednesday’s game is the first of 11 that Liverpool are scheduled to play before the end of 2021 and while Klopp insists his team will be playing for the win against Porto, he accepts he may have to rotate his side with a place in the last 16 already secure.
“We always respect the competition but we have to think about ourselves, our schedule and the situation of our players first,” Klopp said.
“If we leave them all out, we’re going to play with a team that is not a Champions League team. We don’t have enough players for that, by the way.
“We have to line up a team that has a chance to win the game. We need stability, the players need rhythm.
“Whatever line-up we show tomorrow night, it’s all about winning the game – that’s what we are here for.”
Klopp revealed he has a decision to make over the involvement of Andrew Robertson for the visit of Porto after the left-back missed Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing of Arsenal.
The German also said he was unsure whether Jordan Henderson would be fit to start after being restricted to a late appearance from the bench during the win over the Gunners.
Thiago unconcerned by Barcelona speculation
Thiago Alcantara says he is “not concerned” by reports linking him with a return to boyhood club Barcelona following the appointment of Xavi as the club’s new manager.
Thiago played alongside Xavi at the Nou Camp for four years before joining Bayern Munich in 2013, but the Liverpool midfielder says he is only focusing on his “new adventure” in the Premier League.
“I’m a guy who plays football – I’m not concerned about the rumours,” insisted Thiago, who joined Liverpool from Bayern in September 2020. “I’m focused on the duty that I have with my team, the years that I have with my team.
“I just want to know about this new adventure that I have here in the Premier League, trying to win all the trophies that I can. I give my maximum to this team.”