Jürgen Klopp will tell his players to show ‘the right amount of respect, not more’ against Bayern Munich on Tuesday night.
Liverpool, last season’s Champions League runners-up, host the team that have won the Bundesliga in each of the past six campaigns for the opening leg of their last-16 tie at Anfield.
Klopp spoke of Bayern’s ‘quality in all departments’ during his squad’s training camp in Marbella and reiterated his appreciation for the visitors’ status ahead of the game.
But the Reds boss explained why his side must balance respect with confidence as he anticipated another night when Anfield can make the difference.
“It’s a big one, it’s against a really strong opponent and we have to be at 100 per cent,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com. “The whole club, the stadium, the crowd, we all have to be at 100 per cent to have a chance.
“It’s not that I make them bigger than they are; they are really big, one of the biggest clubs in the world. They could be the champions seven times in a row in Germany, which is a big achievement.
“[Borussia] Dortmund are [ahead] but they [Bayern] have experience, quality and they are not in the best situation for them – that makes them even more dangerous, they really want to strike back, chase Dortmund in the league and win the Champions League. That’s the situation and we have to be ready for that.”
He continued: “It’s always a big thing in these games that you show exactly the right amount of respect and not more. That’s what we will do. We have to play our game.
“We all know the positive [things] I say about Bayern, I could say much more positive about us because I know us better. So far the boys did unbelievably well and that’s what we have to do again. We need to be ready for a big fight tomorrow.
“There’s so much talk before these games, in Germany it’s mad how much they speak about the game and they look so positively on us. But they like that, they always make Bayern a little bit smaller than they really are and we are the ‘big favourites’.
“Most people who talk about us saw us only two or three times, or the summaries of matches, and see all the goals we score and say: ‘They are really strong.’ Yes, we are really good, that’s the truth. But it’s still a football game.
“[We need] the right amount of respect, not a little bit more, and showing we are at home. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Liverpool’s second-placed finish in the group stage, secured through three successive victories at Anfield, meant a home match for the first leg in the last 16.
Such a scenario is considered a disadvantage in some quarters, but the Reds profited from it in their knockout meetings with Manchester City and AS Roma en route to the 2018 final.
For Klopp, it matters little, with the manager insistent that the tie will not be settled either way before the return clash in Munich next month.
He does, however, believe the Anfield crowd can lift his team to greater heights by generating the kind of atmosphere the stadium has become famous for.
“Against Roma it was perfect for 85 minutes and then we made it exciting again,” Klopp replied, when asked about playing at home first.
“Against City it was a very positive game obviously but there [at Etihad Stadium], we had to fight for our lives. That’s what we will have to do for sure again.
“I always said before these games, and it was always the truth, they will not be decided in the first game. You can create a result that you have to use in a positive way, if you can, in the second leg. That’s the situation.
“Anfield has to play a role in that. We talked a lot about the power of Anfield and it’s the truth, but we don’t take it for granted, we have to create it anew every time. We do it because we know that’s the thing we need.
“If anybody ever asked about the influence of a crowd, in these games everybody experienced it in specific moments. It’s like pushing us from 100 per cent to 150 per cent. If that’s possible, I think the crowd should give it a try.”