Almost two years ago, on May 7, 2019, Liverpool, under Jurgen Klopp mustered a mighty effort to stage a miraculous comeback, after being down 3-0 to Barcelona from the first leg.
They won the second leg 4-0, courtesy of two goals each from Georginio Wijnaldum and Divock Origi. Almost 8 million people have viewed the highlights of that match on YouTube.
Anfield rocked with 52,212 people bellowing ‘You will never walk alone’ until the 79th minute when Origi conjured the fourth goal and many supporters felt the terraces move under their feet.
On April 14, the Reds need another miracle when they host 13-time champion, Real Madrid at an empty Anfield, trailing 3-1 from the first leg. Klopp understands the importance of the Kop, but he has promised the players are capable of creating such an atmosphere as they seek a turnaround. “When you are 3-1 down, it looks like we are already out,” Klopp told the UEFA website.
“It means we have not a lot to lose. We will give it a try – that’s the job we have to do. If we can create more than we did in Madrid – which should be possible as we didn’t have a lot – then we will see. We cannot take comebacks for granted, especially with no crowd. We will create our own atmosphere again.”
But Zinedine Zidane said, “We’ve come here to win.” The Madrid team devoid of their two best defenders-Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane were near immaculate in the first leg and also went on to beat Barcelona in El Clasico at the weekend.
“That’s what we are going to try and do. We’ve spoken about how after the first leg and Barcelona at the weekend we put a lot into the games physically, but we’re used to that kind of effort. This side always pulls together whenever its backs are against the wall, and that shows the character we have. We are going to fight all the way on two fronts. We are alive in both competitions and we will go for them until the end.”
This one should be a magnificent spectacle.
Guardiola hoping to cross quarter-final roadblock
It was almost an even game when Manchester City hosted Borussia Dortmund last week at the Etihad as the young Dortmund side belied their Bundesliga position to give City a stiff test which they needed a goal from Phil Foden in the 90th minute to pass the first half of the Dortmund test.
The four preceding seasons under Pep Guardiola have seen City unable to get past the Round of 16 on one occasion and three quarter-final exits to English sides-Liverpool and Tottenham and French side, Lyon.
The crucial point most analysts have picked on for these exits is the fact that Guardiola overthinks the obvious when he gets to this point. City suffered a 2-1 home defeat by Leeds United in the EPL on Saturday as Guardiola opted to bench Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, Foden, Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Rodri, and Riyad Mahrez ostensibly looking ahead to Wednesday’s clash with Dortmund. Will it backfire?
Eden Terzic, the interim Dortmund manager, has told his players the need for hard work if they want to progress. “The belief here is great, but that alone will not be enough. We have shown that we can hold out against top teams. It will be a brutally difficult task. We have to work hard and be courageous tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, Guardiola has said nothing is guaranteed. “We had a good result in our first game. We want to impose our game to win the game. We’re taking things one step at a time.”
The two matches kick off at 8 p.m., Nigeria time.
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