Jürgen Klopp: 'We're going to have to kick out a big team'

Liverpool must overcome a 'big, proud club' in the form of Premia Liga leaders FC Porto if they are to continue their Champions League dream, according to Reds boss Jürgen Klopp.

Jürgen Klopp: 'We're going to have to kick out a big team'
(Getty images - John Powell)

Liverpool return their focus to Champions League action as they face a sturdy test as they travel to Primeira Liga leaders FC Porto ahead of their first last 16 knockout match since 2009.

With European football resuming for the Reds on Wednesday night the test of getting a result against Portuguese heavyweights at their own home stands as one of the biggest tests of the Reds season.

The game is Liverpool’s first knockout match in the competition for nine years, though they enter it having topped Group E without defeat.

While Liverpool may be considered outsiders for the main prize,  Klopp's men boast a forward line that has scored 23 goals in the group stage — including two 7-0 wins - second only to Paris Saint-Germain — and they are not to be trifled with.

The Reds were also one of four teams to remain unbeaten in this season's Champions League group stages, alongside Barcelona, Besiktas and Tottenham.

"We want to go to the next round"

Klopp believes this current squad has grown and learned from their European adventures under his guidance but now have to step up again to progress further.

He explained all in a press conference as the Reds arrived on their flight to Portugal.

The German manager was asked about the importance of the match considering it's the club's first knockout match in nine years and Klopp said:

"It’s a chance, but that was clear before. When we sit on the plane, we want to go to the next round. 

"I think the lads have already done a lot of things that are special and new, but at such a heavyweight club like Liverpool it is normal that everybody will compare everything with the past, other legends and stuff like that. It’s normal", Klopp added.

Reds await biggest test yet

Porto go into the tie unbeaten in their last 23 matches in all competitions, and only lost once at home - 3-1 against Besiktas in the group stage of the Champions League and Klopp isn't underestimating his opponents:

"They are very experienced. They’re very aggressive, very physical and it will be a heated atmosphere as well, so there’s a lot we have to deal with.

But they haven’t played very often against a team like us, so it’s ​a same problem they’ll have. 

They are a football-playing side, they fight like they want to show that they are there and want to go through to the next round. 

They are a big club, a proud club, as we are. It’s cool to be in the last 16 but we have to kick out a big one to be in the last eight.

"It’s just nice to be involved, nice to have the opportunity to go to the next round. I don’t think anybody thinks we are already there – Porto are a really strong side

"This game needs everything from us. It’s still possible and that’s so cool. It’s a fantastic competition and we deserve to be in it. We chose the most difficult way with our qualification, but we are in it and it’s a cool moment again."

FC Porto have scored more goals from set-pieces (8) than any other team in this season's Champions League group stages and top-scorer Vincent Aboubakar has scored five goals and delivered two assists in this season's Champions League (5 games), already the most prolific campaign of his career.

The club will be hoping to cause a similar upset to the glory days under Jose Mourinho which included a 3-2 aggregate win over fellow English club Manchester United in 2004 which included a memorable image of Mourinho running down the touchline as the progression set his side on their way to Champions League glory that same season.

Klopp also insisted his players are determined to bring a positive result back to Anfield, Klopp later told reporters: "We know Anfield is a place where the crowd can make the difference and that's what we will want to use in the second game but for that we need a result in the first game.

"We will fight for everything tomorrow. We are thinking about a result that will give us a good chance in the second game but it will be hard work."