Andrew Robertson believes Liverpool’s reputation in the Champions League is so fearsome that no one will want to face them in the last 16.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have reached a European final in three of the four seasons he has been at the club, starting with the Europa League in 2016 and then back-to-back appearances in the elite competition that culminated with a sixth Champions League title in June.
Having booked a last-16 spot as group winners after a comfortable 2-0 win over RB Salzburg in Austria, the Reds into the new year eyeing a third successive final.
And Robertson believes none of their opponents will want to face them, ahead of Monday’s draw in Nyon.
“We respect every opponent we play but we know the way we have done things in the last two years and nobody wants to play against us and that is clear – but it is up to us to keep proving that,” the Scotland skipper said on Sky Sports.
“We cannot rely on that and we need to keep proving why people don’t want to play against us but, so far, we have done that.
“We will wait for the draw and see who we get in the last 16. We know it will be tough regardless but we look forward to the challenge as we want to go far in this tournament again.”
Liverpool have made a habit of making life tough on themselves in the group stages, having taken qualification to the final game for the last three years before then coming on strong in the knockout phase.
It is that form which makes them such tough opposition, having beaten the likes of Bayern Munich, Roma, Manchester City and – most famously Barcelona in an incredible comeback over the last two seasons.
“That is the atmosphere we have created in the last two years, a team which has been to the final twice and has obviously lost one and won one and we are respected in this tournament,” Robertson added.
“Maybe the first season when we went to the final, I don’t think we were really respected until maybe after the quarter-final when we went to Porto and washed them away (winning 5-0 in Portugal).
“We did not get the respect we deserved. Now, we know we are respected in Europe. No one will want us but everyone who gets into the last 16 will fancy themselves.
“Last year and the year before we have been excellent in the knockout stages and we have controlled games but we know that now, we are the champions and everyone wants to beat us.
“That is what we have to deal with and hopefully we can deal with it well. But there are about 40 games between now and the last 16 (in February) – so we will worry about that when the time comes.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool are ready to move for RedBull Salzburg attacker Takumi Minamino in the January window, according to The Times.
The right winger has impressed Jurgen Klopp sufficiently enough for the Reds boss to give the green light to sign the 24-year-old Japan international.
Paul Joyce of The Times reports that Klopp is eager to get a move done next month because Minamino has a release clause of just £7.25million, which is thought to be just a snip of his true market value. Read more…