Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has urge his players to be courageous as they welcome Manchester City to Anfield for the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday.
“We beat them two months ago so we know it is possible to do it again…but hoping for a clean sheet against Man City does not make much sense,” Klopp said during his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
“It is 100 per cent they will have a shot on target in 95 minutes. You need the balls to use the space. We have to be 100 per cent in all parts, offence and defence.
“We cannot avoid everything but with our skills we can cause them problems so that makes the game interesting.
“I like all this things but this club is already full of history and we have to write our own,” he said.
“I meet people who can tell me each goal Liverpool scored 37 years ago. 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. The boys are ready and are really looking forward to it.”
Klopp believes City have weaknesses Liverpool can exploit:
“They are not perfect, that’s not possible. But this isn’t the moment to talk about weaknesses, it’s about showing respect. You can’t win it here by talking bullshit.”
Klopp also confirmed he will be without defender Joel Matip and his fellow centre half Ragnar Klavan for the game against City at Anfield, and he admits that it is a “big blow” on the team.
“It is a big blow. He (Matip) is a very good player and we need him. We need all the boys until the rest of the season,” he said.
“He was surprised, he didn’t think it was that serious until we saw the scan. If, at the same moment, we miss Ragnar who is a big doubt fortomorrow and we have no chance to take the risk as the season has not finished.
“We need to be sensible and make the right decision; Joe Gomez is not in for two or three weeks. The moment when you get the information is not really cool but then you start dealing with it.”
Klopp believes his side has the quality to defeat City like they did in their Premier League encounter in January.
“We know what we have to do at the end but is about doing it 100 per cent,” he added.
“It is a big game against one of the best teams in Europe if not the best team in Europe at the moment. That is nice but it is no coincidence we are in the quarter-finals.
“It wouldn’t be right to sit here and say City have no chance at Anfield but we can win football games as well. I like difficult jobs because it makes it most interesting for a manager.
“The worst thing that can happen is you lose a football game. It is a big opportunity and we will try everything to make it happen.”
Klopp has won five of his clashes with Pep Guardiola and lost only once, a 5-0 league defeat in Manchester in September that was avenged 4-3 in January. But he insists his record against Guardiola makes no difference in this game.
“The record is not important. Pep is not worried about that record and I am not happy or proud of it. If you can beat the best that is enough for that day. If you can be the best – brilliant.”