December 12, 2019

No team will want to face Liverpool in Champions League draw ― Robertson

Andy Roberston, Liverpool, UEFA Champions League

Andy Robertson believes nobody will want to face Liverpool after they sealed their passage to the last 16 of the Champions League.

The Reds went into Tuesday night’s game at Salzburg knowing defeat would likely have seen them eliminated, but delivered an impressive, professional performance to run out 2-0 winners at the Red Bull Arena.

Second-half goals from Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah did the damage for the European champions, who progress as Group E winners.

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Liverpool’s European record under Jurgen Klopp is impressive, to say the least. They are yet to lose a two-legged tie under the German, progressing to the Europa League final in 2016 before back-to-back Champions League finals in the last two seasons.

It means they will be a team to avoid in Monday’s last 16 draw – a fact Robertson is fully aware of.

“That is the atmosphere we have created in the last two years,” the Scot said. “[We are] a team which has been to the finals twice and we are respected in this tournament.

“Maybe the first season when we went to the final, I don’t think we were really respected until maybe after the quarter-final when we went to Porto and washed them away. We did not get the respect we deserved. Now, we know we are respected in Europe.

“No-one will want us but everyone who gets into the last 16 will fancy themselves. It is the toughest tournament. The teams you come up against are outstanding and will fancy themselves. Everyone does. Everyone is confident. And when it gets to the last 16 you get to the nitty-gritty bits.

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“We know that now we are the champions and everyone wants to beat us. That is what we have to deal with and hopefully, we can deal with it well. But there are about 40 games between now and the last 16 – so we will worry about that when the time comes.”

Asked if he believed Liverpool were now carrying a “fear factor” in Europe, Robertson said: “We don’t think about it like that. We respect every opponent we play but we know with the way we have done things in the last two years that nobody wants to play against us. That is clear – but it is up to us to keep proving that.

“We cannot rely on that. We need to keep proving why people don’t want to play against us but so far, we have done that.

“We will wait for the draw and see who we get in the last 16. We know it will be tough regardless but we look forward to the challenge as we want to go far in this tournament again and we have made a big step here.”

Robertson also paid tribute to the performance of Keita, who marked his second successive start with a second successive goal, and picked up the club’s man of the match award in the process.

“Our squad is full of quality,” Robertson said. “And unfortunately for Naby this season, he has picked up an injury which has kept him out a wee bit and he came back and the midfield has done so well.

“But he has had an opportunity in the last two games and he has been excellent. He has added to our options and that is what we need to create. Naby replicates what this team is about. He was the man of the match on Saturday and again tonight he was excellent. Long may that continue.”


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