Klopp happy to avoid English rivals in Champions League draw
Liverpool were drawn to face Benfica in the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Friday, avoiding Manchester City and Chelsea.
Jürgen Klopp has said the one thing he wanted Liverpool to avoid in Friday's Champions League draw was a tie against another Premier League team. The Reds' manager will have been relieved to see them drawn against Portuguese side Benfica for the quarter-finals of Europe's premier competition. Fellow English representatives, Chelsea and Manchester City, were drawn against Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid respectively, while Villarreal will play Bayern Munich. Should Liverpool get past Benfica, they will face the winners of that tie in the semi-finals.
Don't understimate Benfica
Speaking to the club's official website, Klopp said it would be a "mistake" to underestimate Benfica, but did say he hoped to avoid more familiar opposition.
"The only thing I didn’t want to have – I would have taken everybody – but the only thing I didn't want was an English team," he said. "We had that in the past and we went through [2018 v Man City], we played a final against an English team [2019 v Tottenham], it’s absolutely fine, in the final anyway, you take whoever you get. But actually I was just happy it's not an English club, not only because of the quality but because of the competition as well, we play them often enough during a season and it's good if you play somebody else in the European competitions."
Klopp added that he is "really looking forward" to the tie, with Benfica the only club in the draw that he has not faced as Liverpool manager. The Lisbon club knocked out Ajax in the round of 16 after a Darwin Núñez goal in Amsterdam sealed a 3-2 aggregate win.
"Really looking forward to it," Klopp added. "It's a quarter-final so a tough one. Benfica did obviously really well against Ajax and that's the situation. I know people will say we are the favourites and stuff like this, but that's already the first mistake you could make. We are too long in the business now to make these kinds of mistakes. I'm just really looking forward to it. I respect a lot what they are doing there, it's a massive club. I don't think I ever played there, to be 100 per cent honest. Lisbon, a great city. On top of that – I spent my last week off on holiday [before taking the Liverpool job], I got the call from [club director] Mike Gordon in Lisbon. So that's a nice memory as well. I was sitting in an outside coffee bar, I got the call and we made the decision actually in Lisbon."