Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool “belong” in the Champions League quarter-finals after a 0-0 second-leg draw at Anfield gave them a 5-0 aggregate win over Porto in their last-16 tie.
By SportBrief Reporter
Liverpool became the first English team to reach the quarter finals of the Uefa Champions League this season after seeing off Porto yesterday.
It is the first time since 2009 the Reds have reached the last eight but Klopp insisted it “should not be a big surprise”.
“The next round will be difficult, seven other very good teams – maybe four of them are from England, which doesn’t make it easier,” Klopp said.
“I think we will have a chance for sure to go to the semi-finals. We’ll take it step by step.”
The quarter-final ties will be played in the first and second weeks of April and Klopp says he “doesn’t care” who Liverpool’s opponents are.
“We take it how it comes,” he said. “We don’t wish for anybody. We play whoever we get.”
It wasn’t a spectacular ending to Liverpool’s last-16 tie but there were a few chances to break the deadlock.
Sadio Mane acrobatically fired an effort over the bar and hit the post in a generally tame first half that also saw Dejan Lovren head narrowly wide.
Danny Ings picked up some rare game-time as a second-half substitute and was denied from close range by Iker Casillas late in the game after Majeed Waris’ strike – Porto’s only shot on target.
Klopp used the opportunity to rest players for Liverpool’s Premier League match against Manchester United on Saturday (12:30 GMT), making five changes to the starting line-up.
Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah were named among the substitutes but the Egyptian did have a cameo in the second half as Mane was given a breather.
There was also a chance for Joe Gomez and Adam Lallana to gain further fitness following returns from injury.