Jurgen Klopp is anticipating a fully motivated side ahead of their second leg against FC Porto and believes that, despite the 5-0 advantage, it will be a test for their “mentality”
Liverpool hold a 5-0 aggregate lead heading into the second leg at Anfield, where they are expected to cruise to the next round of the Champions League knockout stages. But Klopp is wary of his side dropping their guard, but is confident that whoever plays will be fully motivated to win.
Klopp wrote in ‘This is Anfield’ (via the club website): “This is a fantastic test for us, a big challenge, because it doesn’t just test our ability, our skill, our fitness; it will test the most critical attribute of any side that wants to be successful – our mentality.
“How all of us – players, staff and supporters – approach tonight will tell me more about where we are in our development than any Premier League game against a Manchester City, United, Spurs and so on. We are in a positive way in this moment, but these are the moments of greatest danger. These are the moments when you can really learn about an individual’s mindset. If I was in the FC Porto side this evening I would be looking forward to this match more than any other of my professional career. I would see the opportunity that is there. So, we must do more than simply mirror the passion and desire they will show. We must surpass it, we must be at a higher level – players, staff and supporters.”
The German called for his players to prove their desire to the world and to not show any signs of hesitancy against their opponents.
“We must prove tonight we want it more than they do; show that we are ruthless and relentless, on the pitch, in the dugout and in the stands; be together as one in this approach. What I have really liked, since the first leg concluded, is that I have seen in the players an understanding that there is a job to be done and that they know they cannot ease off the accelerator for even one second.”
Klopp believes that due to the competition in the side, it is highly unlikely that his side will approach the game with any complacency whatsoever.
“The healthy competition within our own side makes this the case. Never mind opponents, the desire not to be left behind within our own group means they keep reaching and reaching for the next level. Take the team selection and squad selection for the weekend just gone, against Newcastle, as an example for what I mean in this moment. Can I explain to Simon Mignolet why he doesn’t start, based on his own level of performance? No! Or to Danny Ward why he can’t even make the bench? Can I tell Joel Matip, Joe Gomez or Alberto Moreno that their level of application and ability doesn’t warrant a starting position? I cannot! For Ragnar Klavan, who performs to an outstanding level, I am unable to find a subs spot in this moment.