MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Liverpool’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk says his team will have to approach Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Manchester City without thinking about simply defending their three goal lead.
Juergen Klopp’s side won the first leg at Anfield 3-0 but the former Southampton defender said it would be a mistake to keep that result in their head for the match at the Etihad.
“It is pretty clear that defending a 3-0 lead is going to be a bit of a strange situation. We need to come here with the mindset it is still 0-0 and we want to win the game and we know we are capable of scoring goals,” Van Dijk said.
“We know also as a team we can defend well, pretty compact, we saw it in the second half at Anfield but the main thing is we definitely need to keep the mindset of winning the game instead of defending a lead.”
With City needing goals, Liverpool can expect to come under plenty of pressure from the outset but Van Dijk said even if they concede early, it is vital they do not panic.
“We need to stay calm. We are not going to think we are going to concede early, that is not the mindset we want to have going into the game,” he said.
“We know we need to be 100 percent, try to do the same things we did in the first half at Anfield and if we do that, everyone is ready for it, then it is going to be a difficult night for them as well.”
City conceded three second half goals on Saturday as they gave up a two goal lead at home to Manchester United in the Premier League but Klopp said that even in that bitter defeat, Guardiola’s side had shown their quality.
“If you saw the first half against United, in a normal game, against one of the best teams in the world, they could have scored six goals and maybe should have four at least,” the German manager said.
“We have to be at our best again. That is how it is. If it was how everyone expected, then we are already half way out and here to keep our pride and show a reaction.
“We have to use the situation because we created it with an outstanding performance. I am still excited and not anything else. I am really looking forward to this.”
Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Christian Radnedge