Jurgen Klopp is relishing another Champions League night at Anfield as Liverpool prepare to face Atletico Madrid tomorrow evening.
Liverpool welcome the Spanish champions to Merseyside on Wednesday night as the Reds look to secure their place in the knockout stages, a win against Atletico at Anfield enough to seal qualification to the last 16.
The reverse fixture proved an enthralling encounter as Liverpool edged 3-2 thriller at the Wanda Metropolitano, and Klopp is anticipating another intense clash in front of a capacity home crowd.
“A similar intensity. Atletico never played a friendly game since Diego [Simeone] has been there and the situation in the group sets the level,” Klopp told his pre-match press conference.
“It is clear Atletico will need three points and we want to win the game at home. It feels like a long time since we played a home game in the Champions League, which was against AC Milan five weeks ago.
“We were so happy we qualified for the Champions League because we knew we would have nights like this at Anfield. Now it is coming and we should celebrate it in a football way with our supporters. Atleti are an incredibly good team but we will give it a try.”
Klopp also spoke on his respect for opposite number Diego Simeone, with much made about the latter’s swift exit without a handshake following the first meeting in Spain.
The German insists he has no problem with Simeone’s post-match stance and says his concern is on securing a positive result and qualification.
“I respect him a lot. We don’t know each other but I respect what he is doing at Atletico, absolutely exceptional against strong sides year after year. Really impressive.
“We were both emotional but now I know he doesn’t like to do it [shake hands after the game], so no problem. Then we can all go home happy but between the handshakes, it’s an important game, which I am more concerned about.”
Liverpool are currently top of the group after winning each of their three fixtures in this season’s competition, and Klopp admits it would be ‘big’ to secure qualification from a challenging group with games still to spare.
“It would be big [to qualify] but we usually don’t have to talk about this as we normally have a ‘final’ in the last match. Hopefully that won’t happen this year.”