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No resting on Liverpool's laurels for Klopp despite one foot in quarter-finals

The Reds hold a 5-0 advantage heading into Tuesday’s second leg at Anfield.

Klopp was in good form at today's press conference at Anfield.
Klopp was in good form at today's press conference at Anfield.
Image: John Powell

LIVERPOOL MANAGER JURGEN Klopp ruled out making wholesale changes when Porto visit Anfield on Tuesday despite holding a massive 5-0 lead from the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.

Klopp’s men travel to Manchester United on Saturday in a clash not only laced with huge ramifications due to the rivalry between the sides, but also in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

“We respect Porto too much and the competition too much that we would think about real rotation,” Klopp, who has rotated his side more than any other Premier League manager this season, said on Monday.

Liverpool have carried on their fine form since dishing out Porto’s heaviest ever European home defeat three weeks ago by strengthening their position in the Premier League’s top four with routine wins over West Ham and Newcastle.

And Klopp is keen to keep that momentum going rather than give his key players the night off.

“You don’t rotate to avoid something, you only use players that are in the best shape,” he added.

“If it will be a different line-up to Saturday I don’t know, but only because we want to win the game. We don’t rest players.”

Barring a disaster, Liverpool will book their place in the Champions League last eight for the first time in nine years.

918956896 Mane's hat-trick has put Liverpool in the complete control of the tie. Source: Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA

And midfielder James Milner believes they are serious contenders to win the competition for a sixth time if they can eradicate the inconsistency that has let them down during the course of the campaign.

Liverpool are the only side to beat runaway leaders Manchester City in the Premier League this season.

However, after edging out City 4-3 in a thriller at Anfield in January, Liverpool went on to lose their next two outings to Swansea and West Brom.

“At this stage of the tournament you need to have that belief you can go on and win it,” said Milner of Liverpool’s Champions League chances.

“We are an exciting team to watch, but I think we are learning to manage games better than we have done in the past.

“We’ve proved over the past few years we can beat anyone, but you have to be consistent. We’re not looking too far ahead and want to put in a good performance and get through tomorrow night.”

Meanwhile, both Georginio Wijnaldum and Ben Woodburn are unavailable for the tie having missed the last two Premier League games through illness.

AFP, 2018

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