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Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool have a “one percent chance” of overturning a 5-2 first-leg deficit to eliminate Real Madrid from the Champions League at the Santiago Bernabeu, but still believes his team can achieve the improbable.
Reigning European champions Madrid fought back from 2-0 down in the first game at Anfield to secure a three-goal lead going into Wednesday’s round-of-16 return fixture.
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But with Liverpool famously beating Barcelona 4-0 in the 2019 semifinal second-leg having lost 3-0 at Camp Nou in the first game, Klopp said that he still has hope that his players can pull off another remarkable win.
“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 percent chance, I would like to give it a try.
“In this room, 100 percent of people think we have no chance. If I am the only one who thinks we have a little, that’s fine.
“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.”
Liverpool have endured a season of extreme highs and lows, including a record 7-0 win against Manchester United in the Premier League, which came after the 5-2 defeat against Real. They have become an unpredictable team, capable of beating the strongest opponent, but also losing to the weakest, having lost twice to the Premier League’s bottom team this season.
And Klopp admits he doesn’t know which Liverpool will emerge from the tunnel to face Real on Wednesday after losing 1-0 to Bournemouth on Saturday.
“If we can surprise ourselves in a negative way, we should be able to surprise in a positive way too,” Klopp said. “If we are up and down, tomorrow should be up again. We are here to win the game, but to win we have to play extremely good and be really on top of our game.
“We have nothing to lose and that’s a better situation than having everything to lose. But we can lose a football match, we’ve done that a few times this season and we don’t like that.
“We are here to play an extremely strong opponent and try to win the game. As difficult as it is, it’s possible, not likely. But we will see where it leads us.
“Three weeks ago, the tie was done. But we still have to play the game and we’re really happy about it. I’m sure Madrid would be happy if it was cancelled and they go through to the next round.
“We are here to win a football game. It doesn’t happen a lot here at the Bernabeu. We are here to give it a proper try. But it’s not about saying three goals is no problem — of course it’s a problem.”
Liverpool midfielder Fabinho, a member of the team that won the 2019 Champions League, says his teammates can evoke the spirit of the Barcelona semifinal win to make it into the next round.
“In general, everyone expects Real to win and go to 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 game.
“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 we have. Nothing to lose. Everyone expects Real to win and get to the quarterfinals and this can be good for us. But if Madrid smell blood, they can kill you.”