The Reds boss believes there will be no room for error as they look to overturn a one-goal deficit from the first leg in Spain
The Reds’ first-leg clash in Spain marked the start of an uncharacteristic slump for Klopp’s men, with losses to Watford and Chelsea taking the club’s record to three defeats in four games after having previously lost just twice in all competitions until mid-February.
Since then, a Premier League victory over Bournemouth saw Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah return to goalscoring form ahead of Wednesday’s match-up with Atletico at Anfield, but Klopp still admits that his players will have to be at their best to get past Diego Simeone’s well-oiled unit.
“We need to be nearly perfect. That’s how it is,” the Liverpool boss said. “We have to attack, we have to create, we have to protect like never before in our life and we have to interact – we need Anfield. That’s the truth but it’s always like this.”
Another thing Klopp believes his charges need to look out for is Atletico utilising football’s so-called ‘dark arts’, with the Reds boss believing that Mane was targeted by opposition players in Madrid which ultimately resulted in the Senegalese being replaced at half-time following a yellow card.
“We spoke about that already but we will probably mention it again,” Klopp said of Rojiblancos players allegedly trying to con officials. “It would help 100 per cent [to have our best players on the pitch for 90 minutes].
“Sadio did nothing wrong, absolutely nothing, and I still thought in the next situation it will be [a red card]. You always need a referee who is aware of situations like this, we cannot do it by ourselves. We have no influence over that. We have to deal with it.”
Klopp added: “We expect a really ‘experienced’ performance from Atletico, let me say that. In all different departments ‘experienced’ but we have to deal with that. There is another area of football where we can be better than the first game and better than Atletico but we have to show that.”
The Reds will have the added boost of captain Jordan Henderson returning from injury, although Klopp was coy over whether the midfielder would take any part in the game.
“Hendo is ready but what we do with that, I don’t know,” he said. “Or maybe I do know and I just don’t say!”