Defender Andrew Robertson expects Liverpool to be at “full throttle” when the Champions League restarts at home to Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
Jurgen Klopp’s squad have spent four days at a training camp in Marbella this week but return home on Friday to step up preparations for their last-16 first-leg tie against the Bundesliga champions.
A trip to arch-rivals Manchester United follows on Sunday and Robertson believes the break in Spain will have helped recharge the batteries to be able to attack both matches.
“Two massive games. When we landed in Marbella on Monday our full focus was on the Bayern Munich game,” said the Scotland captain.
“We need to be full throttle for that game. They are such a good team and they have been the last six or seven years so we know what a tough task it will be.
“But we believe we can cause any teams problems and we have to be at our best.”
Liverpool have not lost a European match at Anfield since the 3-0 group stage defeat to Real Madrid in October 2014.
It is why having the home leg first is so important and Robertson hopes fans can create another stirring night under the lights having been impressed by the atmosphere for last Saturday afternoon’s 3-0 win over Bournemouth.
“I think that’s what all good teams do,” when asked if players responded to the crowd.
“We had a good run last season and especially in the Champions League I think it helped massively.
“Everyone knows how special nights here are in the Champions League.
“We feed off each other. Players feed off the fans and the fans feed off the players because it’s up to us to get them to have something to shout about.
“But it also helps when they’re getting behind us and it can maybe give you that extra percentage or whatever in the game.
“That’s what home fans are for. Every club’s got it and it’s all about making the most of it.”
Klopp believes the break in Marbella has been beneficial to his players ahead of two crucial matches and also in relation to the Premier League title run-in.
“How we see it, this is our little preparation for the rest of the season. It’s not only Bayern but of course it’s Bayern as well,” he told liverpoolfc.com.
“After that we play against United, another strong side, and then game after game is coming up. That was the reason we are here.
“Here we control everything, which is nice. The boys like it as well – it’s not that we do it for three weeks, it’s four days.
“It’s immediately a little push for all the things we have to do during the week. I like it a lot.”
Real Madrid left the Amsterdam Arena with two vital away goals in a 2-1 victory over Ajax in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie.
The hosts dominated in large spells but it was the visitors who drew first blood when Karim Benzema emphatically finished on the hour mark following Vinicius Junior’s fine run.
Hakim Ziyech levelled proceedings 15 minutes later but substitute Marcos Asensio bagged the winner three minutes from time.
Here, we take a closer look at Ziyech’s performance.
Shots – 6
Shots on target – 3
Key passes – 0
Passes – 54
Dribbles – 5
Fouled – 2
Dispossessed – 6
30 SECOND REPORT
Ajax enjoyed superb passages of play particularly in the first half and Ziyech was key to their fluidity in the final third. The front four interchanged well and though Ziyech started on the right wing, he often drifted centrally, dropped off or ran in behind. He even swapped flanks with David Neres on occasion. He did well to bag the equaliser for Ajax and though they ended up losing, that goal may well have kept them in the tie.
With some neat touches and delicate flicks, Ziyech was a nightmare for Madrid to contain. He didn’t set team-mates up directly but he created space for them with his intelligent movement and took players on for fun. The Moroccan ended the game with five dribbles to his name, more than any other player. He also ensured Thibaut Courtois was kept busy, firing a game-high six shots at goal with three of them on target.
Hakim Ziyech against Real Madrid:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 13, 2019
• Most shots (6)
• Most shots on target (3)
• Most take-ons (5)
Dazzling display against the defending champions. ✨ pic.twitter.com/MST4U2lnBW
Before his timely equaliser, Ziyech was guilty of squandering the best chance of the first half when he failed to beat Courtois from inside the box. A fine Ajax move saw Donny van de Beek eventually lay the ball off for the attacking midfielder who took a tad too long with his touch before his snatched finish was straight at the keeper. Having found himself in good positions, Ziyech could’ve played better passes in the final third but instead gave the ball away cheaply.
Not his best performance but still a very good one and you can’t fault Ziyech for lack of involvement. He was central to some of Ajax’s best play and took his goal well. His quick feet and intelligent interchanges had Madrid on their toes while he wasn’t afraid to have a pop at goal.
Tottenham put one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals after a thrilling second-half performance saw them beat Borussia Dortmund 3-0 in the last-16 first leg at Wembley.
Spurs were second best in the first half, but put that right after the break as goals from Son Heung-min, Jan Vertonghen and Fernando Llorente swung the tie firmly in their favour.
It will take some capitulation in Dortmund on March 5 for them not to make it through to the last eight, on a night where Harry Kane and Dele Alli should be back in the fold.
Son continued his leading role in the influential duo’s absence as he scored his 11th goal in his last 12 games early in the second half and his love affair with playing Dortmund continued as that was the ninth time he has scored against them in 11 games.
Vertonghen, who was playing at left wing-back, capped a man-of-the-match performance with a second goal in the 83rd minute and then three minutes later Llorente gave Spurs vital breathing space by nodding home from a corner with his first touch of the game.
It was the club’s first win in a home knockout tie in the Champions League and by keeping a clean sheet it means the Bundesliga leaders have to score at least four goals in the second leg to have any chance of progressing.
It did not start off so well for Spurs as after Lucas Moura came within inches of putting them ahead with an instinctive volley which whistled past the far post, Dortmund began to take control.
BVB, with the help of some shoddy defending, began to pick holes in their hosts’ defence and forced Hugo Lloris into two saves.
First Juan Foyth was criminally caught in possession by Chelsea-bound Christian Pulisic, whose low shot from an acute angle was kept out by Lloris’ leg, and then the Frenchman’s handling was tested by Axel Witsel’s effort.
Lloris made another stop to deny Thomas Delaney after more lax defending, this time by Davinson Sanchez, before the Frenchman saved his best for the final few seconds of the first half to ensure it stayed goalless.
Dortmund worked a two-on-one at a corner and Jadon Sancho crossed invitingly for Dan-Axel Zagadou, but he could not connect with his header properly and Lloris was able to claw it away with millimetres to spare.
And that save proved crucial as Spurs went ahead just 67 seconds into the second half.
Vertonghen won possession back high up the pitch and, after being given the ball back, sent in a pinpoint cross that evaded Zagadou for Son to cushion home a first-time volley.
He could have been celebrating a second not long after had Christian Eriksen not been uncharacteristically careless when racing clear down the left.
Eriksen is the king of assists for Spurs, but for some reason chose to lift a cross in when rolling the ball across the face of goal would have left Son with a tap-in.
This was a different Spurs side compared to the first half as Dortmund struggled to create anything by way of danger.
And two goals in the final 10 minutes put Spurs on the brink of the last eight.
Vertonghen got a goal his industrious performance on the left deserved as after more high pressing won the ball back, Serge Aurier floated in a delicious cross that the Belgian rammed home at the far post.
Wembley was still rocking three minutes later when Llorente made it 3-0 as he nodded home a corner with his first touch of the game.
Spurs closed out the game, knowing they can travel to Dortmund in three weeks with the job virtually done.