EXCLUSIVE: Riise makes bold Champions League claim for Liverpool

Date published: Wednesday 10th March 2021 9:06 - Kevin Palmer

John Arne Riise has urged Jurgen Klopp’s stuttering Liverpool side to draw inspiration from the club’s 2005 heroes, as they aim to halt their alarming collapse by securing European glory.

Riise was part of Rafael Benitez’s side that famously came from 3-0 behind to beat AC Milan in an iconic Champions League final 16 years ago, after a season that saw Liverpool finish well off the pace in the Premier League title race.

After an alarming slump in form in the opening weeks of this year, Klopp’s side may need to win the Champions League to qualify for next season’s competition and Riise has told TEAMtalk that they are capable of defying their doubters and emerging from their slump in the grand manner.

“I wouldn’t count against Liverpool winning the Champions League,” Riise told us at a BT Sport event. “When I look back to 2005, we played poorly in the league, but we had a European run that gave us confidence.

“Player for player, we were not as good as this Liverpool team, but we knew in one game we could beat anybody. That’s how we managed to believe we could win the Champions League.

“This team is so much better than we were in 2005 and the squad is also bigger. One win can change a lot and one win could put them back on track again.

“I don’t think anyone left in this season’s competition would like to draw Liverpool because everyone knows that on their day, they are still capable of beating anyone.

“There are a few other teams that are stronger and more capable of winning the Champions League than Liverpool right now, but this team have proved they are incredible when they click and it can happen again.”

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Riise names reasons for drop-off

Riise pinpoints the injuries to key players such as Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez along with a dip in confidence are key factors behind Liverpool’s current slump that has seen them lose six successive games at Anfield.

Yet he believes that would never have happened if Liverpool’s fans were in attendance, as he added: “The big factor working against them now is the absence of fans at Anfield.

“Everybody is missing the supporters and I understand that, but Pep Guardiola said it; Anfield with or without supporters is two very different things.

“I have experienced it and have been there. It is almost like you are winning 1-0 before the game has started because of the supporters and that is gone at the moment.”

READ MORERiise names the player Liverpool must sign to end slump

Watch every UEFA Champions League exclusively live on BT Sport, including Liverpool v RB Leipzig from 7pm this Wednesday on BT Sport 2. Sign up contract free with a BT Sport Monthly Pass for just £25 per month. For more info visit bt.com/sport

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