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Jurgen Klopp Talks 'Ambitious' Liverpool, Praises Jordan Henderson Before Porto

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2019

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates with Liverpool's English midfielder Jordan Henderson (R) on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on April 5, 2019. - Liverpool won the game 3-1. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /         (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)
GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes his team are "ambitious" ahead of their UEFA Champions League clash with Porto and has heaped praise on his captain Jordan Henderson.

The Reds are huge favourites for the two-legged quarter-final showdown with the Portuguese side, with the first leg to be played at Anfield on Tuesday. Liverpool will be hoping to go one better in the competition this year, having been beaten by Real Madrid in the final last term.

After going back to the top of the Premier League on Friday following a dramatic 3-1 win over Southampton, Klopp said spirits are high, per Paul Doyle of the Observer (h/t the Guardian).

"We are very ambitious," he said. "We have to recover, and then we will make the lineup for Porto. We will try everything. It's at Anfield, it's a quarter-final, it's a big one for us."

Liverpool produced a brilliant display to get into the last eight of the Champions League, winning 3-1 away at Bayern Munich in the last 16 (U.S. only):

Bleacher Report Live @brlive

Sadio Mané breaks the deadlock 👏 Liverpool goes ahead with a vital away goal Watch now on #BRLive: https://t.co/0IMZ0BpLLh https://t.co/Pp1GfrsM9o

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Bleacher Report Live @brlive

VIRGIL VAN DIJK for @LFCUSA 💣 His booming header gives Liverpool the 2-1 edge, can they hold on? Watch the final 20 minutes now on #BRLive: https://t.co/0IMZ0BpLLh https://t.co/YRrjI1us6Q

The team is set for a gripping end to the season, as Liverpool are in a position to challenge for a Premier League and Champions League double.

The fact that they sat top of the table on Friday night is largely down to Henderson, who came off the bench against Southampton to have a huge impact on the game. The skipper released Mohamed Salah to put the Reds 2-1 ahead and then scored the clinching third goal himself.

Klopp clearly rates Henderson highly and spoke of how well he has done to step into the shoes of former captain Steven Gerrard:

"He's our skipper, he's a fantastic character. If I had to write a book about Hendo, it would be 500 pages. So I'm very positive. The most difficult job in the last 500 years of football was to replace Gerrard. 

"In the mind of the people it was like: ‘If it's not Stevie, then it's not good enough.' And [Henderson] has dealt with that outstandingly well. So he can be really proud. Now we have to think of the future and he is a very, very important part of our team. He deserves all the praise but he doesn't get too much."

Football writer Leanne Prescott was full of praise for the Liverpool captain after his performance against Southampton:

Leanne Prescott @_lfcleanne

A night that shows just what Jordan Henderson is all about. Wore his heart on his sleeve, chased down lost balls and delivered a captain’s performance on a night where Liverpool needed him. Game changed when he came on.

Per former goalkeeper David Preece, it was clear to see just how much netting for the Reds meant to Henderson:

David Preece @davidpreece12

Jordan Henderson with 4 different celebrations in one there (The ear cup/The slide/T fist pump/The Ronaldo)

Liverpool will be expected to progress into the semi-finals of Europe's elite club competition at a canter, although Klopp will be encouraging his team to keep up momentum as the season reaches its climax.

Earlier on in 2018-19, there was plenty of talk about whether Liverpool should prioritise the Premier League or the Champions League. It's testament to Klopp, Henderson and the rest of the Reds players that we are in April and a strong case can be made that the team will win both major prizes.

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