Porto coach Sergio Conceicao hailed Liverpool as the best team on the planet at times this season even as he tries to plot their downfall in the Champions League.
Liverpool head to Portugal for Wednesday’s second leg against Porto with a 2-0 lead from last week’s first leg, and Conceicao knows he and his players have their work cut out.
“Liverpool are all about the way that I think about football,” the former Portugal international said through a translator.
“I like the Liverpool dynamics, their game model. I like the way they play with the ball and without it, it’s similar to how I see football.
“In my opinion, in a lot of these moments they are the best team in the world.”
Liverpool dominated the first leg last week, enjoying 66 per cent possession and 15 attempts at goal.
Porto were ultimately grateful only three of those were on target and that they did not add to goals from Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino inside the opening half an hour.
While Conceicao will look forward to home advantage on Wednesday night, he knows an away goal for the visitors could end the tie.
“The match is difficult to prepare for not only because it is 2-0, but also because Liverpool are very strong in attack,” he said.
“The balance we will need when we are attacking will be fundamental so that we do not concede any more goals.”
Klopp took Conceicao’s praise with a pinch of salt.
“Sometimes we are really good, it’s true,” Klopp said. “Hopefully we can show it again.
“It’s probably meant as a compliment but we still know we have a really tough job to do tomorrow and probably he said as well he believes in their chances too. Did he say that? Yes, then it’s all good.”
For all the talk of a potential Manchester City quadruple, Liverpool are still eyeing a Premier League and Champions League double, and James Milner said they needed to deliver for words like Conceicao’s to carry weight.
“It’s a compliment and you get those compliments by playing good football over a sustained period of time,” he said.
“But to be that you have to win trophies and that’s something we haven’t done yet. It’s something we’re trying to do this season.”
Liverpool will be without Dejan Lovren, who has stayed behind on Merseyside due to illness, but fellow defender Joe Gomez did travel and could be an option off the bench after making his comeback from a leg fracture.
Adam Lallana has returned to the squad and Jordan Henderson has shaken off an ankle problem, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain did not travel as he continues to build his fitness.