Sunday 20 October 2019

Ruthless Reds ready for Champions League showdown with Bayern

Liverpool have lost all three of their away games in this season’s competition.

Defender Andrew Robertson preparing for his second Champions League final.(Richard Sellers/PA)
Defender Andrew Robertson preparing for his second Champions League final.(Richard Sellers/PA)

By Carl Markham, Press Association Sport

Andy Robertson believes Liverpool’s ruthless display against Burnley was perfect preparation going into a vital Champions League week.

The Reds had five shots on target at home to the Clarets on Sunday and converted four with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane both scoring twice in a 4-2 victory.

In their last six matches in all competitions Jurgen Klopp’s team have had three goalless draws but have found the net 12 times in the other three.

The performance against Burnley was ideally timed ahead of facing Bayern Munich on Wednesday, with the last-16 second-leg tie delicately poised at 0-0.

So far this season Liverpool have lost all three away games in the Champions League but Sunday’s display has given Robertson confidence they will be better in Germany.

“The work-rate from all of us was brilliant, our counter-press to get the ball quickly and our reactions to poor passes or chances missed,” said defender Robertson, on his 25th birthday.

“We reacted well and we looked positive, that’s what we needed to get better at. We did that. We kept going and we were ruthless when the chances came.

“Last season we were good away from home in the Champions League, we caused teams problems and that’s what we need to do again.

“It will probably be a different game, they’ll need to come out a bit more, their fans will demand they try to create.

“It’s all about trying to keep them out first and foremost and then hopefully we can take the chances we get and do enough to get through.”

A return to winning ways in the Premier League means Liverpool reduced the gap to leaders Manchester City to one point.

For only the third time in their history, they have amassed 73 points from 30 matches. On the previous two occasions they went on to win the title: in 1904-05 in Division Two and the top-flight campaign of 1987-88.

“It’s another game down, eight to go. It’s going to be exciting one way or another,” Robertson told liverpoolfc.com.

“We need to give 100 per cent in every single game and whether it gets us a trophy or it doesn’t, we need to deal with that.

“The position we’re in now, one point behind with eight games to go, if we perform like that – especially with our attitude – then it’ll stand us in good stead.

“We’ve got some tough games coming up but we look forward to the chase and hopefully we can push them all the way.”

Meanwhile Klopp has allayed fears over Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s fitness after the midfielder’s comeback for the under-23s on Friday ended prematurely.

The 25-year-old was scheduled to play 45 minutes in the Premier League 2 match on his first competitive appearance since a serious knee injury last April but came off just before half-time with a minor hamstring issue.

His withdrawal was purely precautionary and Klopp said there was nothing to be concerned about.

“It’s not really surprising, it’s normal. The good news is the knee is perfect – nothing happened, that was our only concern,” he told liverpoolfc.com.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s knee stood up to his comeback in the Under-23s and he was only substituted due to a minor hamstring issue (Peter Byrne/PA Images).

“Football games are different to football training, that’s why he felt the muscle a little bit, and thank God we were smart enough to take him off, even if it was only five minutes earlier than we thought.

“That made absolute sense. Nothing else happened.

“We always said he needs time. Maybe I’m a bit guilty for being too excited about it: if nobody asked me I wouldn’t start talking about Ox, to be honest, but they ask me and I say the truth – and the truth was it looked so exciting in training.

“But it’s only small-sided games, shooting situations and all that but, at the end of the day, we all need to make sure we are ready for the big-size pitch.”

PA Media

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