Jurgen Klopp responds to Liverpool FC v Benfica Champions League draw
Jurgen Klopp looks ahead to Liverpool FC's clash with Benfica in the last eight of the Champions League
Jurgen Klopp has told his Liverpool FC players to expect a “tough” encounter when they take on Benfica in the Champions League quarter-finals next month.
The Merseyside outfit were pitted against the Portuguese club in Friday’s draw as Klopp looks to guide the Reds through to the last four of Europe’s elite club competition.
Liverpool FC have been in superb form in recent weeks, with the Reds having strung together an incredible winning run in the Premier League to cut Manchester City’s lead at the top of the table down to just a point.
The Reds will be the favourites to progress through to the semi-finals but Klopp is not underestimating the threat posed by Benfica.
“Really looking forward to it,” Klopp said when asked about the draw. “It’s a quarter-final so a tough one.
“Benfica did obviously really well against Ajax and that’s the situation; I know people will say we are the favourites and stuff like this, but that’s already the first mistake you could make. We are too long in the business now to make these kinds of mistakes.
“I’m just really looking forward to it. I respect a lot what they are doing there, it’s a massive club. I don’t think I ever played there, to be 100 per cent honest.
“Lisbon, a great city, on top of that – I spent my last week off on holiday [before taking the Liverpool FC job], I got the call from Mike Gordon in Lisbon. So that’s a nice memory as well – I was sitting in an outside coffee bar, I got the call and we made the decision actually in Lisbon.”
Liverpool FC will travel to Benfica for the first leg of the quarter-final clash on 5 April, before they host the Portuguese side at Anfield in the return leg on 13 April.
And Klopp has admitted that it is an advantage for his side to be playing the second leg in front of their home fans at Anfield.
“It’s good,” he said. “Of course it’s better to have the second leg at home but it depends obviously to the first leg, how you play there.
“That’s what we have to try, that we create a basis there that we can use then Anfield in the second leg. It’s a good one.”
Liverpool FC are in FA Cup action on Sunday evening when they travel to face Nottingham Forest in the quarter-finals.
They will then take on Watford at home in their next Premier League game on 2 April.