Liverpool back in Champions League quarters
LIVERPOOL, England (AP):
There's a familiar name back in the quarterfinals of the Champions League (CL). "It's time we showed up again," Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said after his team secured a place in the last eight for the first time in nine years.
It couldn't have been an easier passage for the five-time European champions, either, as they coasted to a 0-0 draw against Porto yesterday to clinch a 5-0 aggregate win in the last 16.
Having scored five goals without reply in a dazzling first-leg display in Portugal three weeks ago, this was always going to be a procession for Liverpool at Anfield a ground that has been something of a fortress this season.
At times, it felt like the English club was going through the motions, especially since it faces a huge Premier League game against Manchester United in the Premier League on Saturday.
No major injuries were sustained captain Jordan Henderson had strapping applied to his right thigh after the game, but Klopp said it was nothing more than a dead leg and Liverpool rarely looked like conceding.
Now, a member of European football's royalty can look forward to the draw for the quarterfinals on March 16. They return as the competition's top scorers this season with 28 goals and will be feared by the other qualifiers.
"This year, we belong there," Klopp said, "it should not be a surprise. There will be seven other very good teams maybe four of them will be from England, which doesn't make to easier, to be honest. But we have a chance, for sure, to go through to the semifinals."
Also in the draw for the last 16 will be Real Madrid, which beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 away yesterday to clinch a 5-2 aggregate win in the marquee matchup in the round of 16.