Jurgen Klopp has called on Liverpool’s players to summon the spirit of Barcelona as they look to give lift-off to their Champions League defence.
This is the first time Liverpool have played a European home game since their remarkable comeback in last season’s semi-final, when they overturned a 3-0 first-leg deficit in what many regard as Anfield’s greatest night.
Klopp loves these occasions under the lights and he was noticeably enthusiastic when discussing the prospect of coming up against Red Bull Salzburg, a side who made Europe take notice when they started Group E by blitzing Belgian side Genk 6-2.
Liverpool’s manager is respectful of the Austrian champions, who he says remind him of his first team Mainz given the aggressive, energetic way they play. Klopp, though, wants his side to make a statement and get points on the board after losing 2-0 in their first game against Napoli.
‘Let’s make it as if it’s like a reunion with the European crowd,’ said Klopp, who will be without the injured Joel Matip tonight. ‘These European nights are based on the performances of all of us.
‘I really hope we can create that atmosphere again.
‘Salzburg are really intense. It will be an intense game and wild in moments. I could talk for two hours on what they do well, but what is really important is that they’ve never played us. It is the most important message.
‘We respect each opponent, that is in our DNA. When you come here we respect you and we show that with our attitude and the effort we put in. We really want to win this game.’
Liverpool, meanwhile, are yet to receive any indication from the EFL about their fate after fielding an ineligible player in the Carabao Cup win over MK Dons.
The strongest sanction is expulsion from the competition and Klopp believes Liverpool must accept whatever punishment is given.
‘If it was our fault we need to get punished,’ he said.