Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool “belong” in the latter stages of the Champions League as they reached the quarterfinals of the competition for the first time since 2009.
Liverpool’s place in the last eight of Europe’s premier clubbcompetition was confirmed on Tuesday following the goalless draw with Porto at Anfield in the second leg of a round-of-16 tie, having held a 5-0 advantage from the first leg.
Speaking at his postmatch news conference, Klopp admitted reaching the quarterfinals was an achievement in itself, but insists Liverpool will not rest on their laurels in Europe.
“I don’t want to make it smaller than it is, but on the other side, I don’t want to make it bigger than it is,” Klopp said. “I think this year we belong there, to be honest. It should not be a surprise.
“The next round will be very difficult — I think that’s clear. Therenare a lot of good teams, seven very good teams involved.
Maybe four of them are from England. It doesn’t make it easier,to be honest.
“I think we will have a chance, for sure, to go to the semis and that’s, of course, the target. But take it step by step, it’s cool — absolutely.
“I don’t think it’s early [for us]. This year is the first opportunity we had to do it and now we are in.”
He added: “We are not a little bit satisfied, to be honest. But I think it was time that we showed up again.
“[There’s] good development in Liverpool at the moment, it’s a nice moment. But you don’t show up in a competition like the Champions League and nobody really will realise it.
“I’m happy for all the people involved that we made that step. It’s done, it’s good and now let’s go and carry on.”
With Liverpool playing at Manchester United on Saturday, Klopp made five changes to his lineup for the Porto game, although top goalscorer Mohamed Salah started on the bench and appeared in the 73rd minute.