Daily Mail

Dreamer Klopp: It’s a one per cent shot ... but we can do it!

- by DOMINIC KING in Madrid

JURgEn KLOPP was careful to keep adding caveats, but the glint in his eye and the upbeat demeanour gave the game away. Liverpool’s manager thinks there is a chance of what would be a comeback to surpass even Barcelona at Anfield. You might laugh and shake your head incredulou­sly at the prospect of the team that lost at Bournemout­h making history in the Bernabeu, but Klopp is an unashamed dreamer.

The german knew he was an island here last night, all on his own surrounded by a sea of inquisitor­s who are adamant that it will not be possible for Liverpool to score four unanswered goals and turn a 5-2 deficit upside down.

The situation is complicate­d further by the fact that Jordan Henderson, a force of nature when the circumstan­ces are this way, has been sidelined with illness. Liverpool’s captain has not travelled to Spain and his aggression will be missed. Stefan Bajcetic, with a stress fracture, is also out.

But, again, Klopp smiled. When you are already beaten in the eyes of the world, what is there to lose? Real madrid, it must be recognised, are a far different propositio­n to the Barcelona team that melted in 2019 but, while there are 90 minutes to be played, anything is possible.

‘What I said after the game three weeks ago was that madrid are through to the next round,’ Klopp said. ‘But three weeks later, we know there is a game to play and if it is only a one per cent chance, I would like to give it a try.

‘In this room, 100 per cent of people think we have no chance. If I am the only one who thinks we have a little, that’s fine. We are not saying: “We are coming, be careful!” and, to win, we are going to have to play really well.

‘It’s Real madrid, they are three goals up. It’s not something you want for Christmas, but we have nothing to lose.

‘We are alone with a little belief, in with a chance of doing it. If we can surprise ourselves in a negative way, then we should be able to surprise ourselves in a positive way.’

He might be dreaming but, equally, he is not a fantasist. madrid, with five Champions League trophies since 2014, are going to fight fire with fire and boss Carlo Ancelotti promised to look for more goals.

‘If we do not play a good game then they can give you a proper knock,’ Klopp acknowledg­ed. ‘They have won so much, that is something to admire. They have all my respect but we respect the competitio­n too much to not give this a proper try.’

Fabinho, once briefly of Real madrid before becoming a key member of Liverpool’s 2019 Champions League winners, was similarly open-minded about the possibilit­ies ahead.

The spirit of that semi-final with Barca will certainly be summoned as they look for inspiratio­n.

‘Everyone expects Real to win and go to the next phase, but this group of players has a really nice experience — the Barcelona game, we were 3-0 down and changed it in the second leg,’ said the Brazilian midfielder.

‘It is a bit different because this game is not at Anfield but we know it’s possible and we believe.

‘ It’s important to have the mindset that we have nothing to lose. Everyone expects Real to win and this can be good for us. But if madrid smell blood, they can kill you. We are facing the champions and that is going to be tough.’

It will be, but madrid are not immune to having curious nights in front of their fans.

Ajax were 4-1 victors here in the last-16 of 2019 and Chelsea were leading 3-0 with 10 minutes to go at the quarter-finals last year before buckling.

‘Liverpool will come here trying to change the dynamic,’ said Ancelotti. ‘We have to do both things, attacking and defending, properly. We will not just defend, we are thinking about the attack.

‘From a psychologi­cal level the match is more complex for us than Liverpool.

‘Liverpool come here to give it their all and do their best from minute one, whatever happens.

We saw that from the first leg. We will try to do all we can from the beginning, but we have more questions than the opponent.’

 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? Hope springs eternal: Salah leads training yesterday
GETTY IMAGES Hope springs eternal: Salah leads training yesterday
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