Liverpool deserve place among European giants: Klopp

Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp congratulates Liverpool's defender Joe Gomez (right) after the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Leicester at Anfield in Liverpool, England on Dec 30, 2017.
Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp congratulates Liverpool's defender Joe Gomez (right) after the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Leicester at Anfield in Liverpool, England on Dec 30, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • The last time Liverpool reached the Champions League quarter-finals in 2009, Rafa Benitez was still in charge, but they have flitted in and out of European football's premier club competition since then.

That situation, however, has not diminished Liverpool's standing among the elite and, after they reached the last eight for the first time in nine years, manager Jurgen Klopp said the five-time European champions were back where they belonged.

A 0-0 draw with Porto in the second leg of their last 16 tie at Anfield on Tuesday earned the Reds a 5-0 aggregate win over the Portuguese side, and Klopp was elated to have finally got over the proverbial hump.

"It feels good to be honest, feels really good. I cannot feel like people who waited so long for it but it feels good," said the 50-year-old, who made it clear that he expected more. "Last eight is cool. (But) we're not a little bit satisfied to be honest. I think it was time that we showed up again."

The German, who took his previous club, the Bundesliga's Borussia Dortmund, to the Champions League final in 2012, said that reaching the last eight highlighted the progress at Anfield.

"There is a good development in Liverpool at the moment, it is nice but, if you don't show up in a competition like the Champions League, then no one realises it," he added.

"So I am happy for all the people involved that we made that step. It's done, it's good and now let's go and carry on."

Klopp also said the good result in Europe was about in line with his expectations for the team's improvement.

"I never had a time schedule in my mind. I don't want to make it smaller than it is but, on the other hand, I don't want to make it bigger than it is," he said.

"This year, we belong there, it should not be a big surprise and the next round will be very difficult...

"But we will have a chance for sure to go to the semis, that is of course the target."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2018, with the headline 'Liverpool deserve place among European giants: Klopp'. Print Edition | Subscribe