Champions League-KLOPP: Liverpool will play to beat City again, there's no other plan

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has no plans to change approach despite lead over Manchester City


Jürgen Klopp has no intention of altering his approach for Liverpool 's Champions League quarter-final tie against Manchester City, despite his side beginning Tuesday’s second leg with a 3-0 advantage. Liverpool are favourites to progress to the last four after an emphatic win-to-nil in last week’s first encounter, yet must remain wary of a City outfit which is more than capable of scoring the goals needed to progress. Pep Guardiola’s side are the second-highest scoring team in Europe’s five major leagues and believe a remarkable turnaround is possible, even if their manager admits they will need to play a “perfect game”. Some coaches in Klopp’s position would prioritise protecting the first-leg lead, but the Liverpool manager laid out his gameplan plainly at his pre-match press conference on Monday and insisted that little would change. “We are here to not concede and to score,” Klopp said. “To win the game. That's the plan. There's no other plan. It's not about ‘coming through’. You know if we get passive against City, you don't have to come [i.e. turn up]. If you are active and good, you have a chance. That's all I need. “It's about defending but in the right way. In whatever game you play, you want to defend well, you want to defend at your best to give yourself the opportunity to win the game. Then you don't have to score 15, only one and you can still win it. “That's exactly the plan for tomorrow,” he added. “We cannot or should not change that. The second half [at Anfield] showed that - not only the second half, each game City plays shows that only defending is not the solution. That's why we should not try that.” When asked whether he had a plan in case City score early, Klopp said: “It's clear, you concede a goal first, nothing changes. We are still in the lead, so it's all about doing again the right things. We need to stay in the mood where we can always bring in our strength. “Defending in the right spaces, playing football in the right spaces, attacking them in the right spaces... that's constantly the same. Even if they would be 3-0 up, it would not change anything.” Klopp noted the similarities between 2016’s United tie and this quarter final against City, but also highlighted one key difference. “I don't want to be negative about United that day but it is a different quality this City team,” he said. “United at that time was not a team you'd expect to score six, seven goals or so. “We did it now a few times, City can do it. Of course it's all about winning the game. Again, that's the plan,” he reiterated. “That's the idea when you play a football game and that did not change since last Wednesday.” Liverpool’s chances of reaching last four will be significantly helped if their 38-goal sensation Mohamed Salah recovers from a groin problem in time to play. Salah trained with his team-mates at Melwood on Monday night, a few hours after Klopp had said that the Egyptian is more of a ‘yes’ than a ‘no’ for the trip to the Etihad, but a final decision on his fitness will only be made on the day of the game. “We are here to not concede and to score,” Klopp said. “To win the game. That's the plan. There's no other plan. It's not about ‘coming through’. You know if we get passive against City, you don't have to come [i.e. turn up]. If you are active and good, you have a chance. That's all I need. “It's about defending but in the right way. In whatever game you play, you want to defend well, you want to defend at your best to give yourself the opportunity to win the game. Then you don't have to score 15, only one and you can still win it. “That's exactly the plan for tomorrow,” he added. “We cannot or should not change that. The second half [at Anfield] showed that - not only the second half, each game City plays shows that only defending is not the solution. That's why we should not try that.” When asked whether he had a plan in case City score early, Klopp said: “It's clear, you concede a goal first, nothing changes. We are still in the lead, so it's all about doing again the right things. We need to stay in the mood where we can always bring in our strength. “Defending in the right spaces, playing football in the right spaces, attacking them in the right spaces... that's constantly the same. Even if they would be 3-0 up, it would not change anything.” Klopp found himself in a similar situation two years ago on the other side of Manchester. After defeating Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United 2-0 at Anfield in the Europa League round of 16, his side arrived at Old Trafford as favourites to progress to the last eight. Anthony Martial’s opener from the penalty spot that night halved the deficit and could have unnerved the visitors but once Philippe Coutinho responded with an away goal, Liverpool cruised through. One Liverpool goal at the Etihad on Tuesday, meanwhile, would leave City needing five of their own to progress. “We did it now a few times, City can do it. Of course it's all about winning the game. Again, that's the plan,” he reiterated. “That's the idea when you play a football game and that did not change since last Wednesday.”
Liverpool’s chances of reaching last four will be significantly helped if their 38-goal sensation Mohamed Salah recovers from a groin problem in time to play. Salah trained with his team-mates at Melwood on Monday night, a few hours after Klopp had said that the Egyptian is more of a ‘yes’ than a ‘no’ for the trip to the Etihad, but a final decision on his fitness will only be made on the day of the game.

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