Liverpool will walk out at FC Porto’s Estadio do Dragao next Wednesday and this will be the first time in nine years that they have been involved in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
But can they handle it? Jamie Carragher shares his insights about the long wait and he only has positive things to say about Jurgen Klopp’s side.
“It has been too long,” Carragher said.
“Over the years when I was playing maybe we took it for granted getting to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
“Now only when you’ve been away for so long, you appreciate how big a thing it is.
“Hopefully the manager and the lads can help us keep moving forward and get through that Porto tie.
“Then you’ve got the excitement of the draw and it keeps the season going in terms of a trophy still being up for grabs.”
“Yes, Liverpool are big outsiders this season,” Carragher said.
“But this team is better than the Liverpool team I played in that won the Champions League in 2005.
“It will be tough against Porto but it’s a winnable tie and if we get through that who knows what could happen.
“With all the talk about getting into the top four and qualifying for the Champions League for next season, we shouldn’t forget that we’re still in the competition this season.
“I’m going over to Portugal myself next week and hopefully we can get a good result and see where it takes us.”
“I never moved clubs so I don’t know what it’s like to go back somewhere, but I don’t think it’s nice when a whole crowd turns on you,” Carragher said.
“Their fans have got that many options it won’t just be one they’re targeting! Lovren gets stick down there so Van Dijk won’t be alone and I’m sure he can handle it.
“Southampton are down there but I think player wise they have probably got the best team out of the clubs that are down there.
“They still play some really good football. Tottenham only got a draw there a few weeks ago.
“With Arsenal playing Tottenham this weekend, one of those clubs is going to drop points and Liverpool have to capitalise by getting a win.”
“It’s very tight. Liverpool have had a couple of opportunities to create a gap of four or five points and they haven’t taken them,” Carragher said.
“The worry is that Tottenham in recent years have had a great second half of the season. Being out of the FA Cup, even though you don’t like it, that could be a help for Liverpool.
“We’ve still got to go to Goodison, Old Trafford and Chelsea but I still fancy us to get top four. If Liverpool achieve that if will have been a great job by Jurgen Klopp to get Champions League football two years running.”