(L-R) Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah, defender Nathaniel Phillips and midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri react at the end of after their loss to Real Madrid in the first leg. Photo: Gabriel Bouys
(L-R) Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah, defender Nathaniel Phillips and midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri react at the end of after their loss to Real Madrid in the first leg. Photo: Gabriel Bouys

Only a ’perfect performance’ for Liverpool will do against Real Madrid

By AFP Time of article published Apr 14, 2021

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LIVERPOOL - Liverpool must produce a "perfect performance" to overcome a 3-1 first leg deficit against Real Madrid on Wednesday and reach the Champions League semi-finals, manager Jurgen Klopp said.

A difficult season for the English champions will end without a trophy should they fail to pull off a fightback against the 13-time European Cup winners on Wednesday.

"This Real Madrid team has some of the greatest talent playing football in the world today. This isn't a surprise – it's what Real Madrid do. So to beat a side like this you must always strive for the perfect performance," Klopp said in remarks published on the Liverpool website on Tuesday.

ALSO READ: Exhausted Real won't rest on laurels at Anfield, says Zinedine Zidane

"But what we will not lose sight of is how good we are, the talent we have, the magic in our dressing room and the character required to make special moments happen.

"We have the entire package at Liverpool."

One part of the package missing from previous glory European nights at Anfield will be the crowd because of ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

Liverpool famously overcame a 3-0 first leg deficit to beat Barcelona 4-0 in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final on route to winning the competition for a sixth time in 2019.

ALSO READ: Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp urges caution against high-flying but depleted Real

But, with no fans in the stands, Klopp has played down comparisons with that clash or the 2016 Europa League tie against Borussia Dortmund, when they fought back from 3-1 down on the night to win 4-3 and advance 5-4 on aggregate.

"It is an indisputable truth that a full stadium would have been significant for us," added Klopp.

"When I think back to the many special nights we have had here, I usually describe them with the word 'together'. That is because those nights were about the collective power of this club. Supporters and players coming together to produce memories that last a lifetime.

"My job – and the job of the boys – is to channel your energy despite the forced distance. We know it's still there, therefore we can still use it. It's more of a challenge, of course, but since when did we ever do anything the easy way?"

- Madrid stretched to 'physical limit' -

Left-back Andy Robertson said the players have a responsibility to create the atmosphere themselves.

"The Barcelona game, that wouldn't be possible without the fans. The fans made us feel 10 feet tall," said the Scotland captain.

"Walking out to 55,000 other people who believed, gave you that extra 10 percent.

"We need to try and create that atmosphere in the changing room before we go out. We've got to have no regrets."

Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane said his players were "at their physical limit" after following up their first leg win with a 2-1 victory over Barcelona in an intense Clasico on Saturday.

A knee injury to Lucas Vazquez has added to Zidane's list of absentees with Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal also ruled out.

But Zidane said Real are prepared to empty the tank for the third time in eight days to secure a place in the last four for the first time since they beat Liverpool in the 2017/18 final.

"When Madrid are on the field we have to win every game," said Zidane.

"It was a huge effort in the first leg, then against Barca, but we are used to this and tomorrow we are prepared for another game of the highest demand."

AFP

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