Former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has backed the Reds to go all the way and triumph in this season’s Champions League.
Jurgen Klopp‘s men face Real Madrid in the quarter-finals next month after beating RB Leipzig in the last 16.
Their European run has proved a welcome change to their woeful Premier League form; Liverpool have lost six in a row at Anfield but beat Leipzig 2-0 in each leg in Budapest.
Despite winning the Champions League two seasons ago, though, their injury-hit defence makes them one of the outside candidates to go all the way this time.
Nevertheless, Benitez – who masterminded Liverpool‘s 2005 glory – has backed the Reds to prove their doubters wrong.
“For sure. Liverpool has the potential and the manager, it’s not a problem,” the Spaniard told the Daily Mail.
“People talk about Istanbul like we were lucky. But we were not lucky to win the Champions League because we played against Juventus [in the quarter-finals], that was a top side and they played 5-3-2.
“Tactically we had to adapt to a very difficult opponent and then, because we did well, the confidence was growing and growing.”
Benitez added that, as Klopp has experienced – and and his own team knew – Liverpool can gain confidence as they move through the tournament.
“And we played Chelsea, at this time it was the best team maybe in Europe – for sure in England – [but] our team had so much confidence that tactically we could manage. We were a team with belief.
“I think Liverpool can do the same and go to the final obviously. AC Milan was a great team but the team was growing in confidence because, in these knockout competitions, we could do it.”
Liverpool run would have echoes of 2005
Should Liverpool go all the way in 2020/21, their triumph will have echoes of their 2005 glory.
Not only will Istanbul again host the final, but the Reds could face Chelsea once more in the semi-finals; the Blues must get past Porto to reach the last four.
Liverpool, meanwhile, must get past a Madrid side which has lost some of the spark that led to three successive wins under Zinedine Zidane.