Jurgen Klopp has warned his Liverpool squad to be prepared to dig in ahead of a tough Champions League game against Porto this week despite previous victories
Jurgen Klopp has warned his erratic Reds their Champions League dream could be shattered if complacency creeps in against Porto.
Liverpool won 5-0 and 4-1 on their last two European visits to the Estadio Dragao, with many suggesting the Portuguese club are fearful after their mauling in 2018 and 2019.
Both years, the English club reached the final of the competition, but Klopp has warned there can be no sense of destiny this time around.
“Porto qualify for the Champions League every year, and they are always first or second in the Portuguese League. That is a top team and that is what we are preparing for,” he said. “Not the team we beat in the past.
“For them it is another reason to be motivated on the highest level. Yes we were good, we are good that is clear, and I’m still happy we won the games – but we can’t think we have won this game already. It will be tricky.
“We are often enough in this competition to know they are a top side, and you cannot win a game before the game – you have to be ready in the game.”
Klopp has almost a full squad to choose from for Tuesday night’s game, with only Thiago and Harvey Elliott missing.
Alongside Klopp on Monday say Diogo Jota, who is adamant he didn’t come to Anfield to break up the best attack in world football…but to make it even stronger.
The Portugal star returns home on Tuesday, when he faces his former club as an established member of the Reds’ formidable attack.
A remarkable goalscoring return for Klopp’s side – including four goals in his first three Champions League games for the Merseyside club last season – has made him a regular.
But he insisted his aim was never to force out Liverpool’s recognised centre-forward Roberto Firmino: “They are one of the best attacking trios in the world, so I didn’t think of coming to take anyone’s place.
“I came to give my best in training and games and then it is up to the manager to decide – it is always good if you have those players to help you because in the end you want to win and when you have so many good players that helps you win.”
It is now over a year since Jota was signed by Klopp, in a surprise £41million deal last September, but his record of 12 goals in 17 Premier League starts, and 16 in total shows it was a shrewd investment.
The forward has impressed in Europe in particular, scoring a hat-trick against Atalanta last season, and scored nine goals in eight Europa League starts for previous club Wolves.
He returns home with glowing testimony from his manager: “Exceptional player, really happy we signed him. Honestly he is a really strong personality,” Klopp said.
“You can’t know that before you met the person, but he is a really impressive, mature young man. That makes it enjoyable to work with him.
“We spoke about it from time to time that it’s not easy to improve us but Diogo did that, definitely. He has scored important goals. He is a player made for our style: pretty intense, technically good, really fast, good in the air, both feet really good.
“Diogo is a very interesting package and I am really happy we saw that and could realise the transfer. That has helped us a lot.”
Jota was born in Porto, and is still a fan of the club he grew up watching, with friends at the club. He knows Liverpool won’t have it easy in the Estadio Dragao, despite wins of 5-0 and 4-1 in their last two visits there in 2018 and 2019.
“I follow Porto also and I know those results weren’t good for Porto and they didn’t show the real difference between the teams.
“Usually playing at the Dragao is never easy for away teams. I know that if we let ourselves go there and think about those results then we will be struggling.”