Football: Man City on red alert, says Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi (right) tackling Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah during the 4-3 Premier League home win for the Reds in January.
Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi (right) tackling Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah during the 4-3 Premier League home win for the Reds in January.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

He believes in Liverpool's strength as City's Begiristain admits to a 'difficult' q-final clash

NYON (Switzerland) • Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain shifted in his seat, adjusted his tie, shook his head and pursed his lips.

City had just drawn Liverpool in an all-English Champions League quarter-final tie yesterday, and Begiristain looked uncomfortable.

The Spaniard's body language in Nyon was picked up by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who insisted that he did not mind facing City in Europe.

"I saw Begiristain's face after the draw and he didn't look like it was Christmas," he told a press conference yesterday.

The German is certain Pep Guardiola's side will be feeling a little nervous about the clash.

Although City beat Liverpool 5-0 in September, they suffered their only league defeat this season at Liverpool on Jan 14. Two of City's other three losses this term have come in the Champions League - against Shakhtar Donetsk and Basel - while they were stunned by Wigan in the FA Cup.

"We've lost once and we've won once against them in the league. I don't think they thought before the best draw they could have got is Liverpool. That's a sign for us and how strong we can be," Klopp told Liverpool's website. "We are for sure not the favourites in this round, but in the last eight there are not a lot of favourites - maybe two of them, Bayern (Munich) and Barcelona - but thank God it's football and nothing is decided."

  • UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUARTER-FINALS

  • Barcelona (Esp) v Roma (Ita)

  • Sevilla (Esp) v Bayern Munich (Ger)

  • Juventus (Ita) v Real Madrid (Esp)

  • Liverpool (Eng) v Man City (Eng)

  • First leg: April 3-4

    Second leg: April 10-11

The quarter-final first leg will take place on April 4 at Anfield, where City have just one league win in the last 37 years. The decisive return is set for April 10 at Eastlands.

The games will straddle the Merseyside derby and the Manchester derby with United for City.

While Klopp revealed that Liverpool's clash against Everton has been rescheduled to a 12.30pm kick-off on April 7 to accommodate the Champions League fixture, he was far from happy.

"I know countries where they cancel whole match days so teams can be in the best shape," he said.

"We play Wednesday night against Manchester City and then play Everton at 12.30pm three days later. That's not too cool."

City are chasing their first European Cup and Begiristain admitted Liverpool will pose an obstacle.

"It's a very difficult one. We like to travel and to go to another country in the Champions League but it is what it is," he said.

"In the Champions League there is no time for mistakes, you have to be almost perfect in both games. We know the power and the strength of Liverpool."

The tie will be the first meeting between Premier League sides in the Champions League quarter-finals since 2010-11 when United beat Chelsea.

Following yesterday's draw, the bookmakers replaced City with Barcelona - who face Roma - as the favourites to win the competition.

City right-back Kyle Walker, however, did not seem too disappointed with the outcome.

"Liverpool? Ok, let's go!!! #UCL," he wrote in a Twitter post that was accompanied by a picture of him training in a pair of sunglasses.

In another mouthwatering last-eight tie, Juventus will get the chance to avenge last year's final defeat by Real Madrid.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 17, 2018, with the headline 'City on red alert: KLOPP'. Print Edition | Subscribe