Jurgen Klopp has warned Liverpool must be ‘nearly perfect’ as they bid to overturn a first leg deficit against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last 16 tonight.
The European champions welcome Atletico to Merseyside this evening facing a difficult task to seal their progress to the last eight, the visitors protecting a one-goal advantage after Saul Niguez scored the only goal of the game during the first leg at the Wanda Metropolitano three weeks ago.
Klopp has never lost a two-legged European tie since his arrival as Liverpool manager over four years ago, though the German accepts his side face a formidable challenge against a notoriously resilient Atletico side.
“We need to be nearly perfect,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference “That is how it is. We have to attack. We have to create. We have to protect like never before in our life and we have to interact and we need Anfield.
“That is the truth. But it is always like this. I only say we should give it a proper try. That is all I want and then we accept what happens. If Atletico go through, congratulations. If not, we will deserve it. We need a result so we cannot worry about the situation. We have to have a fantastic night.”
Diego Simeone’s side – who have reached two Champions League finals in the past six seasons – are renowned for their dogged defensive displays, a reputation not lost on Klopp who is anticipating a frustrating evening against their Spanish opposition at Anfield.
“It is like every game we have played since Atletico is a build-up for now,” Klopp added.
“I am not saying Bournemouth hit every ball over our heads, it is just they are a real block to play against. Traditionally, that is Diego Simeone with Atletico. A lot of people admire that and we have to fight against it. They are one of the best in how they play.
“Napoli last season was the most difficult challenge I have ever faced in my life. An Italian team and you need to win 1-0? How is that possible? We did it. I do not say we will do it again but I do know we will give it a real try.”