Klopp: Porto first leg was strange... they'll strike back

Jürgen Klopp's determination to not underestimate FC Porto is underlined by the Liverpool manager's reading of the first meeting between the sides.

At the halfway stage of their Champions League last-16 tie, the Reds lead 5-0 courtesy of an emphatic performance at Estadio do Dragao which saw Sadio Mane score three times and Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino once apiece.

But the hosts had chances of their own on the night, while the clinical nature of Liverpool’s display is evidenced by the fact they had six shots on target and five found the net.

And that knowledge, allied to the awareness Porto have won each of their four league fixtures since the opening game, ensures Klopp is taking nothing for granted on Tuesday.

Exclusive: Klopp on Porto return, CL ambitions and more

He told Liverpoolfc.com: “They are [dangerous]. If you get a real knock then I think the intention and desire to strike back is even bigger. That’s what I would expect. They want to show [themselves].

“The game was a strange one; yes, it was very good but we were as effective as ever. We had six shots on target and five were in. That doesn’t happen too often.

“We played a few more wonderful pieces of football and yes, we could even have scored more – but not because of the quality of the opponent. We had that day. To have a day like that you need to be 100 per cent ready.

“But they had two big chances in very decisive moments that they could have scored. It’s football and the only thing I really want to see is that we try to play our best and win the game. Then we can think about all the other things.

“In the moment, it’s because human beings are like that – we need a fighting atmosphere. People come and maybe a few thought, ‘oh, I have tickets for the rematch’. Forget that. Go there and let’s really work all together to win the second half of the last-16 tie.

“Only the first half is over. Let’s go for the second half.”

Porto’s visit to Merseyside marks the first Champions League knockout match at Anfield since 2009, while Klopp and his staff are overseeing a tie at this stage of the tournament for the first time in three years.

But with Liverpool the highest scorers in the competition – with 28 goals – and yet to taste defeat, the boss feels it is a deserved platform.

“I think it’s where we belong,” said the German.

“It’s not that I’m surprised. I knew how hard it was but when we went through to the group stage and had these games it was always a target to go to the knockout stages. It was always the target not to end in the last 16; you want to go to the quarter-finals and the semis and until the end.

“It’s what we are all doing. If you see the teams involved, we are not even through and you think, ‘wow’. It’s a wonderful competition.

“Since we have been here we have had a few wonderful European nights. When you hear the first whistle, it’s not important if it’s the Champions League or Europa League. It’s football, so let’s go for it.

“But for the club, of course, it’s important we are in the Champions League and that we qualify again for the Champions League. That’s the situation and what we enjoy. But it’s hard work and there’s still a lot of work to do.”