A passage to the quarter finals of Uefa Champions League on Wednesday must have brought a sense of relief for Juergen Klopp and Liverpool, but he was guarded about their chances of doing an encore of their 2019 triumph.
Liverpool, who are struggling in this season’s Premier League at eighth spot in the table, advanced after their 2-0 win over RB Leipzig completed a 4-0 aggregate victory, moving them into the quarters for the third time in four seasons.
“The only reason you play in this competition is because you want to win it,” Klopp said. “I am not silly, we know so far this is not a season which looks like we will win the Champions League, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to go as far as possible and then we will see what is possible for us.
“Now we have to wait for the draw; it will be extremely tough whoever we get, but we don’t really think that far, we don’t have to.”
Mohammed Salah, who opened the scoring in the 70th minute on Wednesday before Sadio Mane made it 2-0, said it was important to focus game by game. “The team is not in the best shape but we want to fight in the Champions League and in each game in the Premier League,” he said.
“We don’t have to look to the big picture because sometimes when you do, we see too much pressure carried on to the pitch. We just need to leave the pressure off the field and play.”
After six successive defeats at Anfield, Klopp’s men looked relieved to be away from home, with the second leg also played in the Hungarian capital due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
“They were outstanding. We had to switch off the Premier League stuff to get here and to try. To give it a proper try,” Klopp told BT Sport.
“The boys really enjoyed themselves tonight which is important,” said Klopp.
“It is a big result for us,” said Salah.
While the Reds showed attacking intent from the off, they squandered a string of chances throughout the first half. “First-half we created massive chances and didn’t score which is a thing we have in 2021,” said Klopp.
Liverpool visit Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on Monday.