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Klopp insists Liverpool have to be at their ‘absolute best at all times’ to get past Atletico Madrid

Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool must be at their ‘absolute best at all times’ to beat Atletico Madrid as the two sides prepare to meet in the last-16 of the Champions League.

The European champions travel to the Spanish capital for the first leg of their knock-out stage meeting tonight, looking to secure a positive result at the Wanda Metropolitano – the scene of last season’s final triumph over Tottenham.

Atletico have reached the final of the competition twice in the past six seasons but are struggling somewhat in La Liga at present, though Klopp is anticipating a hugely difficult fixture against Diego Simeone’s side, insisting the holders must be at their ‘absolute best’ to progress to the last eight.

“If there is a team where you have to be at your absolute best at all times, it’s Atletico,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference in Madrid.

“They give no presents. Absolutely no presents. If you work as hard as possible, then you have a chance. If you don’t, then you don’t even have a chance.

“That’s why Atletico were often in European finals. It shows how long they were together, and now they had to change, they did that, brought in big potential, some experience. I see a team playing and, for me, it looks like a proper machine. Whatever happens, they are there.

“The moment you are not 100 per cent concentrated, they close you down with two or three players and then counter-attack. If you are not focused and concentrated in your own offensive play, you will not even have a shot on target because they close the centre so good.”

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