Jürgen Klopp believes a collective effort on and off the pitch is required to see Liverpool into the last 16 of the Champions League as group winners.
The Reds face Spartak Moscow at Anfield this evening knowing three points will seal top spot in Group E and book a place in next week’s draw.
Writing in his column for ‘This is Anfield’, Klopp said: “We have a very important job to do tonight – and that means all of us connected with Liverpool Football Club. Players of course, but also staff, supporters certainly, and yes me as the manager.
“So much hard work culminates in what happens over this coming 90 minutes, and I don’t say this to make pressure or worry – I say this because it is our situation. At full-time we will either be able to enjoy and celebrate reaching the knockout stages of this amazing competition or our involvement in the Champions League will be over for another season. This is what is at stake this evening and we all recognise there is a very big task in front of us.
“Again: this is not about pressure – this is about opportunity. I want everyone inside Anfield with a beating red heart to embrace this opportunity. We have done so before. We did it in the final game of last season when we knew we had to beat Middlesbrough to qualify for the Champions League. We did it back in August against Hoffenheim when we needed to reach the actual group stages. And tonight there is another big job to do.
“What I remember about the other two occasions, highlighted above, is how we all came together and recognised there was opportunity there for us if we wanted. On both occasions we could see a finishing line but still had a really difficult hurdle to get over first, in the shape of a really strong opponent. And on both occasions supporters and the team came together to create a very powerful force.
“We need this same power tonight. We need this same attitude tonight: belief in ourselves, tempered with acknowledgement that nothing will be handed to us. The opportunity must be taken, it will not be given.
“And the reason we know it won’t be just presented to us is because of the quality of team we face.”
He added: “Our game in Moscow was an outstanding Champions League contest. I think we played really well in this game, but the quality of Spartak meant despite playing well we could still only manage a draw. This is what we will face again tonight.
“If we do not respect their quality, we will pay the price. If we do not respect our situation and the need to finish the job, we will pay the price. We must – meaning all of us as Liverpool – have the attitude that when we see a finishing-line we sprint our hardest. If we do this together I have real confidence we will enjoy our evening.”
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