Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has reacted in positive fashion to the Champions League draw, saying the Anfield crowd can help the Reds against Porto.
Klopp guided his team through the group stage to finish top ahead of Spartak Moscow, Sevilla and Maribor, before learning on Monday that the Portuguese side would be the next test.
A two-legged tie awaits in the round of 16, with Liverpool visiting the Estadio do Dragao for the first leg and the return being played at Anfield.
Klopp is in no doubt that the atmosphere which the Kop can generate on a big European night can be a pivotal factor.
“[The Anfield atmosphere] has to be a difference. That’s how it is,” he told LiverpoolFC.com.
“You go there and there’s no easy place in the world of football. We go there in the first game; I don’t have a plan for that game yet!
“Then, of course, Anfield must make the difference.”
As for the match itself, Klopp isn’t too worried about being prepared for the tactical battle.
With plenty of domestic matches to take care of between now and the round of 16 in February, the Reds will have one eye on their future opponents while also attempting to remain competitive in the Premier League.
“Last Wednesday, when we knew we were still involved, that was our big dream: we didn’t care who we would get. It was clear it would be a strong side,” Klopp continued.
“Porto are a strong side, first in the Portuguese league and always good. This year again they’re a difficult side to play.
“They came through in a difficult group; they kept Leipzig—a really good side in Germany—behind them. It will be interesting.
“Portugal doesn’t have a proper winter break, one week or 10 days off. We have enough games to watch and we will watch all of them.
“It’s in around about two months, so we don’t have to watch the Champions League games too much. We have the league games.
“We’ll see, so many things can happen – the transfer window, injuries, everything can happen. We dreamt of this, so we are really looking forward to playing the games.
“But I think we have 20 games from now until then, so a few things to do until then.”
Of course, those factors cut both ways: Liverpool will hope to strengthen in the January window, while the ongoing fight to remain in the top four—not to mention an FA Cup derby—will keep the Reds busy.
Still, there’s no doubting that considering who else the Reds could have been paired with, this tie represents a significant opportunity to go deep into Europe’s elite competition.