Rafa Benitez has detailed how Liverpool can pull off another famous European comeback this Wednesday when they attempt to overturn a 3-1 deficit against Real Madrid.
The Spaniard, who had spells in charge at both Anfield and the Bernabeu, oversaw arguably the most-dramatic comeback in Reds history as they won the 2005 Champions League final on penalties after trailing 3-0 at half-time to AC Milan.
Liverpool have also enjoyed stirring European recoveries under current manager Jurgen Klopp at Anfield, defeating his previous club Borussia Dortmund 4-3 in the Europa League quarter-final second leg after being 2-0 down at the interval and famously thrashing Barcelona 4-0 in the Champions League semi-final second leg after losing 3-0 in the Camp Nou.
Benitez, now back at the family home on Merseyside he has kept since his Liverpool appointment almost 17 years ago after a coaching stint in China with Dalian Pro, admits that the famous Anfield atmospheres generated by the home crowd in the past helped to inspire those results but still believes that the Reds can find a way through if they are patient.
The 60-year-old told the Mirror : “The way the tie is, if you score once, you are back in it. Even if that takes an hour, so be it.
“For me, the key will be not to get too anxious – for them to manage that anxiety – don’t rush it. Maintain concentration levels and keep focused.
“With quality players, a goal will come.
“But Liverpool have to be in a position where they can keep a clean sheet – and they will have to be more aggressive at Anfield and play with greater intensity over 90 minutes than they did in Madrid.
“Sadly, they cannot rely on the crowd to provide the spark for that.
“In my experience, the supporters at Anfield have been a huge factor in those European nights. I don’t think you can dispute that. It has been one reason for their success. One hundred per cent.
“Now, that drive will have to come from within.”
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Although boyhood Real Madrid fan Benitez acknowledges it is difficult to find any obvious weaknesses in Zinedine Zidane’s side, he still believes they can be got at if Liverpool apply more pressure on them, something he feels they did not do enough of during last week’s first leg in the Spanish capital.
He said: “Real Madrid are a balanced side. Casimero does that really well for them. He allows Toni Kroos and Luca Modric to move around. And to win football matches, you need a balance.
“He also allows the full-backs to move forward. But the reality is that they weren’t exposed too much.
“Nacho is a very good team player. I don’t have any doubts about his quality in the absence of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane but Liverpool didn’t put him under too much pressure, either.
“I would also include the full-backs in that and Mo Salah and Sadio Mane have it in them to cause problems in the return leg if they can find that intensity to their play.”