Jürgen Klopp has delivered a message to Liverpool’s players and supporters ahead of tonight’s Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid: “Be yourselves, trust yourselves, embrace the joy of the moment and do your best.”
The Reds go into the last-16, second-leg encounter at Anfield needing to overturn a one-goal deficit from the initial meeting at Estadio Metropolitano three weeks ago.
If they’re to do so – and reach the quarter-finals of the competition for a third successive season in the process – Klopp believes they will need everyone at their maximum, both players and fans.
He wrote in his column in the official matchday programme: “The story of our team in recent seasons, and even in recent months and weeks, is when we face a challenge we rise to it. Set the bar higher and give all you have to clear it.
“Our mentality isn’t one whereby we expect or want gifts. Everything this group of players has in this moment they have fought and scrapped for. We are fighters to our very core.
“Opportunity is the pressure that drives us – it is only positive in these moments.
“I talk about Atletico’s qualities because we must respect them, but in doing so we don’t ignore our own. This is so, so important. We have talent, desire, energy and belief. We know when we bring our intensity we hold the pen and we write the story. We have world-class players, who I am proud to say are world-class people also. I would swap them for no-one.
“But the key part of that is knowing there is work to do and we have to do it. It is not allowed to think for even a second our previous achievements will have an impact tonight. Things happen when you make them happen – tonight we have to make them happen.
“Just because we have done something before doesn’t mean you can expect it to happen again. Go and make it happen again – performance and atmosphere.
“Anyone who comes to Anfield tonight thinking of previous occasions and feelings here, I’m cool with that. But it has to be channelled into a mindset of ‘I want to feel it again’. So, remember all the things that brought you to that feeling – player and supporter.
“The key word tonight will be ‘intensity’. Madrid will have it – we know this. So we must have higher intensity, in the positive sense, in all that we do.
“Our visitors’ supporters will be passionate and loud. Cool! We can be better if we are prepared to work for it. Our visitors’ players will be focused, prepared and hungry. Cool! We can be better if we are prepared to work for it.
“I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to leave any sense of ‘what if’ or even ‘what might be’ outside the stadium. In the stands and on the pitch we need to be in every moment. This is how you create special moments.
“Wanting something isn’t enough. Plenty will want something. We have proved already and we can prove again it’s about ‘doing’. It’s about doing the work and then getting the rewards. Anfield has been our biggest asset for such a long time and we never fall into the trap of thinking it just happens because tickets are sold and gates are opened.
“On nights like this, the Anfield crowd is the ‘transfer’ that no other club can ever acquire, no matter how much they crave it. It can’t be copied or replicated. It’s special to us. It is ours and we must always cherish its positive impact.
“As always the message to the players and the crowd is very similar. Be yourselves, trust yourselves, embrace the joy of the moment and do your best.
“It’s all you can ever ask.”
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