Liverpool will not be on a revenge mission when they face Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, says boss Jurgen Klopp.
The Reds were beaten 3-1 by Real in the 2018 final – the last time they met in the competition.
In that game, Mohamed Salah was injured by a challenge from Sergio Ramos and left the field in tears.
“My motivation is at the highest level because it’s the Champions League,” said Klopp.
“This has nothing to do with 2018 but when I got the draw – because it’s the first time we played Real Madrid since then – of course I remembered the game.
“I said after that game that if somebody asked me a week later or a month later if I would invite Sergio Ramos to my 60th birthday, then I would say no. I would think about it again.
“He’s a great footballer but I didn’t like what happened that night. It was a strange night for us but it’s long ago and I cannot get that feeling back, that anger or whatever, so I don’t even try.
“We are not on a revenge tour here. I don’t believe too much in revenge, but it would be nice to get through, because it would mean we are in the next round.”
‘We have no problem with role of challengers’
Since the 2018 final, Liverpool have won the Champions League, beating Tottenham in the 2019 final, as well as claiming a first English top-flight title in 30 years last season.
They face a Real side who are also their country’s reigning champions and are again in a race for the La Liga title this season, but one Klopp feels his side can hurt.
“We face a football-playing side which is very helpful for football in general but for our defending as well, that’s why we have a chance,” added Klopp, whose side come into the game off the back of an impressive 3-0 win at Arsenal that left them within two points of the Premier League top four.
“I heard outside everyone said Real Madrid are the favourites, no problem with that. They are used to the role and we have no problem with the role of the challengers.”
Klopp will largely have the same squad available to him that beat Arsenal, with midfielder Jordan Henderson and defenders Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk all ruled out.
No Ramos and Varane for Real
Real Madrid will be without both first-choice central defenders for the first leg, with France’s Raphael Varane testing positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday while Ramos is injured.
Captain Ramos picked up a calf injury while on Spain duty.
In their absence, Spain defender Nacho Fernandez is expected to start alongside Brazil centre-back Eder Militao.
Eden Hazard, who has been ravaged by injuries since joining Real from Chelsea in 2019, returned to training on Friday, ahead of schedule from his latest muscle problem, but will not be risked on Tuesday.
Boss Zinedine Zidane believes his side have been unfairly criticised this season after their poor start to the campaign, but are out to prove their worth on Tuesday having won nine and drawn two of their last 11 matches.
“In the end, we deserve trust,” said the Frenchman, who led Real to a hat-trick of Champions League titles between 2016 and 2018. “What is said, we can’t change all of that. What we can do is our jobs every day.
“But through history, this team turns around the things that have been said. We never give up on things, never. While there is a chance we always fight.
“We have had difficult moments, now we are in a good moment, though it doesn’t mean anything at the moment. We have to keep on fighting and compete.”