Having secured a commanding lead in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 clash with FC Porto two weeks ago, you’d expect Liverpool to put it in cruise control when the Portuguese giants visit Anfield later today, but they won’t be taking any chances as they look to seal their spot in the quarter-finals of Europe’s most important club competition.
“Anything is possible in the Champions League,” said Reds midfielder Emre Can, speaking to UEFA’s official website. “We’re excited about this competition and we’ll take things as they come. We’ll pay every opponent all due respect, but hopefully we can keep winning,” said the German, knowing full well that they’ll be in for a fight. “You don’t get anywhere just thinking, ‘OK, let’s see what happens’. We want to win, regardless of who we play against. Practically anything is possible in the Champions League and that’s why we’ll give it our all.”
The five unanswered goals they bagged at the Estádio do Dragão in the last leg should be enough to give Liverpool their first taste of the last eight since the 2008–2009 season — a massive gap for a true juggernaut of European football.
Pushing back in to second place on the back of a win over Newcastle United at the weekend, there were suggestions that Reds boss Jurgen Klopp should look to rest a number of key players with a trip to Old Trafford looming at the weekend, but the German isn’t having any of it.
“It’s a challenge; if we would have won 1-0 or 2-0, nobody would ask me [about rotation]. That’s actually how I see it. Why should we think about it?” mused the gaffer in his pre-match press conference. “It’s only because we scored two or three more goals to make it kind of cool. Afterwards, you have to get the rhythm back again,” stressed Klopp. “The boys look good in the moment and we should use that. It’s possible that we’ll make a few changes, of course, but only because we want to win the second half of the game.”