Klopp banking on Anfield crowd to give Reds edge over Atleti

Atletico Madrid goes to Anfield 1-0 up on Wednesday, but Jurgen Klopp thinks the home fans will give Liverpool the edge.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp applauds the Anfield crowd   -  Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp is hoping to use Atletico Madrid's lack of Anfield experience to Liverpool's advantage in its Champions League last-16 second leg on Wednesday.

Atletico goes to Merseyside 1-0 up thanks to Saul Niguez's early goal in Madrid, with Liverpool subsequently failing to break its host down.

After the first leg, Atletico coach Diego Simeone suggested his side "started winning on the roundabout next to the stadium", referencing the remarkable flare display and atmosphere that supporters greeted Liverpool's team bus with en route to the Wanda Metropolitano.

READ:
Virgil van Dijk: Liverpool has 90 minutes to set the record straight

Nevertheless, Klopp is of the belief Atletico players could be intimidated by the Anfield atmosphere.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Klopp said: "Not a lot of them [Atletico players] have played at Anfield before and that is what we want to use.

"Our crowd will be our advantage and we have to use it with the performance on the pitch. It has to be exceptional because they defend deep and have a counter-attacking threat. Each player can be dangerous and they are an experienced team.

 

"They know how to deal with it all. I have the highest respect for them but there are always ways and we have to find them. We have to show we have really learned from the first half [game].

"It's half-time for us, that is the best news. We use half-time traditionally in a really good way, very often we improve. We use that normally in a critical way. Second half we learn from situations.

"This time we had three weeks, not 15 minutes. We want to use that time. It is much clearer than before. A couple of advantages they had are now there for us, like atmosphere. Our crowd will be an advantage. We have to produce a performance on the pitch that has to be exceptional in all departments.

READ: Liverpool captain Henderson fit to return against Atletico Madrid

"We cannot be scared to go out. If we are afraid, we cannot play with freedom. There will be opportunities for us and we have to make sure we take them."

Joao Felix was absent for the first leg due to injury but has since returned and scored two goals in three matches, including an effort in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Sevilla.

He looks set to start at Anfield and Klopp acknowledged he is an admirer of the Benfica academy product.

When asked about whether Joao Felix's return will lead to Atletico setting up differently, Klopp said: "I'm not sure but probably defending-wise it will be the same. But offensively, yes, Joao is a super player. Wow, young and so skilled is a really nice combination.

READ: Klopp: Liverpool fans not 'paranoid' over 'silly' coronavirus reports

"I heard [Alvaro] Morata is a slight doubt and Joao Felix is now in. We saw in the last game it looked like it was really intense for him after a long time out.

"The game tomorrow night [Wednesday] will be intense for him as well. We have to keep them busy in areas they don't want to be busy. That's how it is, especially for the offensive players.

"But I know the speed he has, the creativity he has, the football brain he has. He can cause us problems if we are not aware of these things."

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

Read the Free eBook

  Dugout videos