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Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool 'dreamt' of reaching UCL last-16 this season

PORTO, Portugal -- Jurgen Klopp says he and his players "dreamt" in the summer of reaching the knockout rounds of the Champions League as Liverpool prepare for their last-16 tie with Porto.

This is the first time Liverpool have reached the Champions League's round of 16 since the 2008-09 season, having finished fourth in the Premier League last term.

Liverpool face a Porto side at the Estadio do Dragao on Wednesday evening, with Sergio Conceicao's team only losing once on home soil this season.

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday evening, Klopp said: "Yes, on a good day we are really strong.

"We need to be outstandingly strong tomorrow to get a result at Porto because they are very experienced, very physical, hard, good footballers, good plan. It's quite a job to do and that's all we are focussed on.

"But we are in a very positive way and that's all we are focussed on. We're looking forward to it. We wanted to come here.

"When was the draw? In December? Probably, so it's long ago. It was long enough to wait for the next round in the Champions League.

"But to be honest, we dreamt of it and now we are here. It's good, really good. It's feels good. Everything is prepared. The last 16 means 16 really good football teams face each other."

Klopp was asked about Liverpool's chances of winning the Champions League outright, with the question referencing the club's unlikely triumph in the competition back in 2005.

The Liverpool manager responded by saying: "I don't think the 2005 side thought about this before the round of last 16. If they did, it would really surprise me and I can ask Rafa [Benitez].

"I'm pretty sure they didn't so it makes no sense. I have no idea. If we would be in the final, I can say that we'd try to win it for sure.

Jurgen Klopp will lead Liverpool into the Champions League round of 16 against Porto on Wednesday.

"But it is such a long way away and there are only good teams left in this competition. I hate to talk about the round after the actual round.

"Only because I am a friendly person, I answer the question and because we are in public. Usually if someone asks me about the next round, I walk out immediately."

Klopp also insisted Liverpool can compete with Europe's best and pointed to last month's 4-3 win over Premier League leaders Manchester City as proof.

"I know it already we can compete with them, I don't have to look at them," Klopp said. "I think probably the strongest football team in this moment in Europe is Manchester City and we played them twice already at the highest level.

"The Premier League is a little different but if we meet them [City] then we could beat them. That is how it is. But it is not important right now. We are in Porto and that is the only thing.

"We can make one mistake, that is how it is in life. And of course we as a team we will never do that."

Roberto Firmino joined Klopp at Tuesday evening's news conference, with the Brazilian going on to vow that Liverpool will make their Portuguese opponents "suffer" on Wednesday.

Firmino and teammate Mohamed Salah have both combined to score 49 goals in all competitions for Liverpool so far during the 2017-18 campaign.

"I don't know if they are going to be afraid or not but we will make their life difficult for sure. We will make them suffer," the 26-year-old said through a translator. "I'm going to do what I can to help Mo score goals and to help all the team. I also want to help myself to make a good season.

"Porto are an excellent team with tradition in the Champions League. It will be a tough game and we have to play our best. I know it's going to be physically and tactically a very strong game."

Liverpool earlier announced that Loris Karius will start the game at Porto rather than Simon Mignolet, while Nathaniel Clyne has returned to full training after overcoming a back injury, but is some way off from being available for selection.

Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.

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