Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has claimed that the Reds ‘do not care’ about the potential disadvantage of playing the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie with Bayern Munich at home and will look to use the game to create a solid foundation for the return leg in Germany.
A second place finish in the group stage means that the Anfield leg has to come first, but Klopp doesn’t believe it ultimately matters too much which leg is first or second.
“These games usually when two good teams face each other will not be decided in one game. We respect the competition. There are two legs to play. We will be 100% focused for both of them.
“Let’s create a basis we can use in the second game. It’s different but possible.”
Klopp hopes that the kind of atmosphere associated with an Anfield European night will push Liverpool on against a supremely tough opponent.
“We have to create an atmosphere on the pitch tomorrow and make it easier for the people. It will be outstanding tomorrow night. It’s something to enjoy. There’s a lot of power involved in the atmosphere. Our crowd is really able to push us from 100% to 140%.”
Klopp is facing Bayern in competitive action for the first time since his days as Borussia Dortmund coach and will have to contend with two of the cornerstones of his Dortmund success – Robert Lewandowski and Mats Hummels – lining up against him.
Klopp on facing Lewandowski and Hummels: “Fantastic boys. I am grateful to them because without them my career wouldn’t have been the same. We’ll always have a lot of respect for each other. I really like them but we will try everything to try to stop them from shining.”
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Describing the pair as ‘fantastic’, Klopp stated: “I have to be really thankful. Without them probably my career would not be the same. We all benefitted from each other. That’s part of my life and part of my history. We’ll always have a lot of respect for each other.
“I know a lot about them. I really like them. We will try everything to let them not shine.”
Liverpool are without Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez for the game. Fabinho could stand in as an emergency centre-back alongside Joel Matip, although Dejan Lovren is still racing to be fit.