Jurgen Klopp has said the only thing he wants Liverpool to avoid in Friday’s Champions League draw is a draw against another Premier League side.
The coach of the “reds” was relieved to see them draw with the Portuguese Benfica for the quarter-finals of the main European competition.
The other English representatives, Chelsea and Manchester City, have been drawn against Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid respectively, while Villarreal will face Bayern Munich.
If Liverpool overtake Benfica, they will face the winner of this last round in the semi-finals.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Klopp said it would be a “mistake” to underestimate Benfica but said he hoped to avoid more familiar opponents.
“The one thing I didn’t want to have – I would take everyone – but the one thing I didn’t want was an English team,” he said. “We’ve had that in the past and we’ve come through [2018 v Man City], we’ve played a final against an English team [2019 v Tottenham], it’s okay, in the final anyway, you take whoever you want to take.
“But actually I was happy it wasn’t an English club, not just because of the quality but also because of the competition. We play with them quite often for a season and it’s good if you play against someone else in European competitions.”
Klopp added he was “very excited” for the draw, with Benfica the only possible opponent in the draw he will still face as Liverpool manager. The Lisbon club knocked out Ajax in the round of 16 after a Darwin Nunez goal in Amsterdam sealed a 3-2 aggregate victory.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Klopp added. “It’s a quarter-final so it’s tough. Benfica obviously did very well against Ajax and that’s the situation. I know people are going to say we’re favorites and stuff like that, but it’s is the first mistake. There is too much time in the company to make these kinds of mistakes.
“I’m really looking forward to it. I really respect what they’re doing there, it’s a huge club. I don’t think I’ve played there before, to be 100% honest. Lisbon, a city terrific.
“Also – I spent my last week of vacation [before taking over at Liverpool], got a call from [club manager] Mike Gordon in Lisbon. I had a coffee, got the call and we made the decision in Lisbon.”