Jurgen Klopp said Tuesday his Liverpool team might only have a one percent chance of beating Real Madrid to reach the Champions League quarter-finals, but they will try to use it.
The coach had admitted, after his team’s 5-2 first leg defeat by the European champions at Anfield in February, that his side’s hopes of progress were extinguished.
However Klopp said he had changed his mind a little, and even if nobody else believed in his side, they were looking forward to the clash in the Spanish capital, a repeat of last season’s final.
“I said three weeks ago, Madrid with their result are through to the next round, now we are here three weeks later and we know there’s a game to play,” Klopp told a news conference.
“If there’s only a one percent chance, I would like to give it a try. We’re here to play an extremely strong opponent and try to win the game tomorrow.
“As difficult as it is, it’s not likely, but possible. For that, we are here, we’ll see where it leads us to.”
Six-time champions Liverpool have produced both the sublime and the ridiculous in recent weeks, thrashing rivals Manchester United 7-0 in the Premier League, before losing 1-0 to relegation-threatened Bournemouth last weekend.
Klopp’s side, expected to fight for the title, have languished in mid-table at times this season but are now aiming at a top four finish.
“If we can surprise ourselves in a negative way we should be able to surprise ourselves in a positive way as well,” said the German coach.
“But it’s clear, we’re not here telling Madrid, ‘be careful, we’re coming!’ – that’s not the situation we are in.”
Madrid, record 14 time winners and masters of European comebacks, engineered another from two goals down at Anfield to run out comfortable winners.
Klopp said that their mindset was an important strength for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, looking to win a remarkable sixth Champions League in 10 years.
“Madrid can absolutely smell blood, they don’t lose conviction or confidence at 2-0 down, that’s a massive skill for a team,” added Klopp.
“They have won so much in the last few years there’s nothing that can get them ‘excited’ in a negative way, that’s something to admire.”
Despite his team’s attacking quality, the German coach did admit that making up three goals at the Santiago Bernabeu was a big challenge.
“I can’t sit here and say three goals is no problem, of course it’s a problem. And three is only possible if we don’t concede, which makes it even more unlikely,” said Klopp.
“If I was sitting on that side of the table, I would see the same –- there’s no chance for Liverpool.
“That means we are alone, with a little belief. In a chance, not in doing it. We’ll try tomorrow, we’ll see.”