Liverpool v Atlético Madrid: We should celebrate with supporters, says Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool should celebrate being with their supporters when they host Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Atletico’s last visit to Anfield in March 2020 proved to be the final game played in England before the country went into lockdown because of Covid-19.
It was also the Champions League quarter-final second leg, in which Atletico went through 4-2 on aggregate.
“The world turned upside down in parts,” said Klopp about what followed.
He added: “Not sure we could have imagined it that night, though I think we all had a sense that something interesting could happen to us, to society. I didn’t know to what extent that night.”
Klopp voiced his opposition to the game at the time as, despite rates growing in Spain and the country going into lockdown, 3,000 fans were still allowed to travel.
A subsequent Government report into the handling of the pandemic stated 37 people died unnecessarily as a result of that specific fixture.
“It was the one game, when I thought about it later, which I never thought about like a football game. Just in my mind, it was a really strange moment,” said Klopp, whose side lost 3-2 in extra time.
“Before the game, after the game, everything that happened, the changes in Madrid, then all of a sudden no mascots in the stadium so you realise ‘OK, somebody thinks things could be not good’.”
Football went into lockdown for three months before returning without fans, but Anfield has since welcomed back 100% attendances.
Liverpool won 3-2 in Madrid two weeks ago in this season’s competition – and Klopp’s side can progress from Group B with two games to spare if they win on Wednesday.
“We were so happy when we qualified for the Champions League last year, because we knew we would have nights like this,” he said.
“So now a night like this is coming and we should celebrate it in a football way together with our supporters.
“Atletico are a good team, incredibly good team and ever since Diego [Simeone] is there, they never played a friendly game, so we should not expect that, but we will give it a try.”
Meanwhile, Atletico boss Simeone has confirmed he will not be shaking hands at the end of the game because he believes it is “false”.
‘Suarez was phenomenal here’
Liverpool midfielders Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara have both returned to training, after the Reds lost Naby Keita to a hamstring problem at the weekend.
Former striker Luis Suarez could also be present at Anfield, lining up for the opposition after scoring 82 goals in 133 appearances for Liverpool between 2011 and 2014.
“When Luis was here he was phenomenal for a number of years, he was outstanding,” said Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson.
“We all know he’s a top player for a long time, who produced so many good moments at Liverpool.
“The fans know that and will appreciate what he did at this football club – I don’t think Luis will be too bothered – so maybe not during the game, but it would be nice after the game for him to get a nice reception from the crowd.”