Jürgen Klopp stressed the need for Liverpool to play with 'freedom' against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night if they are to continue the defence of their Champions League crown.

The Reds are out to overturn a 1-0 deficit at Anfield in the second leg of the last-16 tie following the defeat out in the Spanish capital last month.

While Klopp acknowledges the size of the task standing in the way of his players, he insists progression can be achieved if they use the energy from the home crowd to fuel a high-intensity performance. 

Read on for a summary of the boss’ pre-match press conference on Tuesday afternoon... 

On the current impact coronavirus is having on the footballing world… 

I said it last week that I don’t think I should be asked about this but it’s different and it’s not about me as a manager, it’s about me as a human being. I think that some things are more important than football and I think we realise that in this moment and all that we need is time to find a solution for that. How can we win that time with avoiding different situations? I don’t know enough about how much it would help with the football games, I don’t know, but the problem with football games is if you are not in the stadium then you are in closed rooms watching it there, maybe together, [and] I am not sure what is better in this case, to be honest. I mean that. But whatever will be decided we will respect because we all have families, parents, kids, friends, which we want to do well and for that it’s clear that we will accept that. I don’t know how much sense it will make, but when I read it as a normal person I think, ‘OK, some people think obviously it will help and then they do it’. That’s how it is.

On what he’s expecting from his side and Atletico this time around...

More shots on target! Look, ‘no shots on target’ sounds like we had no chances, that’s not the fact. We had situations, we had good situations, but we played against a team who is probably the world’s best at deep defending. They scored a goal where they were slightly lucky and we were unlucky, it’s not a set-piece routine or whatever that we were not aware of, it hit a player from us and rolled in front of their feet. That’s how football is sometimes. Getting a 0-0 there would have been a brilliant result but it wouldn’t have made this game easier because we still have to score. The challenge against Atletico, it was always clear from the first moment that it is one of the biggest in football. They will not go out with the white flag, they fight until the end and that’s what we do – that’s why it’s so interesting.

It’s half-time, that’s the best news. It’s half-time and for us, half-time in a normal game, we use traditionally in a pretty good way. So we like that, we learn from the first half, we show the boys a few situations and [in the] second half very often we improve. This time, we had not 15 minutes but three weeks as half-time. We did not prepare the whole time [for] the game but have now for a couple of days and that’s what we want to use as well. I think a lot of things are now much clearer than they were before. If you know it it’s one, if you feel it it’s completely different. A couple of advantages that we didn’t have there are now on our side, they are not the only things that are decisive in this game but the atmosphere will be a point, 100 per cent. That we have our crowd will be an advantage, that they don’t have their crowd will be another advantage, that’s just how it is and we have to use it. We have to produce a performance on the pitch that has to be exceptional, absolutely, in all departments because playing against a deep-defending side is one thing but with the counter-attacking threat they are on the other side, that makes it even more difficult. Each offensive player can be really dangerous in these moments and it’s not only them, it’s set-pieces and stuff like this, they are a very experienced team who played in these competitions for a really long time and they know how to deal with different situations. That’s all clear. But not a lot of them played before in a stadium like Anfield, in an atmosphere like we can create, and that’s something that we want to use and hopefully we can.

On whether Atletico having Joao Felix back in the side will make them a different proposition...

I'm not sure, defending-wise will probably be the same but offensively, yes. Joao is a super player, wow, young and so skilled – it's a really nice combination. I don't know. I heard Morata is a slight doubt but Joao Felix is now in. We saw the last game and it looked like it was really intense for him after a long break. The game tomorrow night will be intense for him as well. We have to keep them busy in areas where they don't want to be busy, especially for the offensive players. But I know the speed he has, the creativity he has, the football brain he has – it can cause us problems if we are not aware of these things. But we are, so the boys will be prepared for this but that doesn't mean there's no chance for them. It will be different but they did well with the line-up we faced there, so maybe Diego is saying, 'Let's play the same team again'. That worked very well and we will see. We don't know exactly.

On his thoughts about tomorrow night's game...

We expect a really experienced performance of Atletico in all different departments. We have to deal with that. But there's another area of football where we can be better than the first game and better than Atletico. But we have to show that tomorrow night, I cannot do that here now. We need higher speed in different moments, we need better switches in different moments, we need braver football in different moments, we need to play around a formation, we need to play in behind a formation, we need to play through the gaps, that's all clear. If you play predictable, Atletico defends you for the next six months without a rest. But if you prepare situations where it's not that easy to defend, the more often you are in situations where you can score – and that's what we have to do. It's really the highest respect, it's really good for what they are doing and the way they are doing is really good, but there are ways obviously and we have to find them tomorrow night. They are not closed for us that we cannot do it. We can do it.

Tomorrow night is a game that we have to show that we really learn from the first game and that we really want to go through with respecting it's possible that we don't go. Because if you are afraid of going out, you cannot play with freedom and we need this freedom. We need to play free knowing that they are really good in defending. Defend their counter-attacks, get the ball back – the best way to defend counter-attacks is to defend them with counter-press, win the ball back, use the space they create in that moment, all this kind of stuff. There are a lot of opportunities for us but against such a quality team they are difficult to find. But we know about them at least and now we have to make sure we can show them as well.

Get the latest LFC news direct to your smart speaker
Never miss a beat Google Amazon

Media Watch: Read the latest LFC transfer rumours