Football

Stay focused amid the hype, Klopp warns his stars

Juergen Klopp urged his Liverpool players not to succumb to the hype generated by their scintillating performances after crushing Spartak Moscow to reach the Champions League knockout stages.

Liverpool's "Fab Four" shone in a 7-0 trouncing of Spartak yesterday morning (Singapore time), with Philippe Coutinho scoring a hat-trick, Sadio Mane claiming a double and both Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah finding the net.

But having seen his team crash 4-1 at Tottenham Hotspur after thrashing Maribor 7-0 earlier in the group phase, Klopp is desperate for his men not to ease up ahead of Sunday's Merseyside Derby with Everton.

"We showed tonight that we learnt from the mistake we made in Seville," Klopp said, referring to Liverpool's 3-3 draw against Sevilla on their previous Group E outing, when they blew a 3-0 lead.

"Now we have to show that we learnt from the mistake we made after Maribor when we faced Tottenham. We will be ready again on Sunday."

A brace from Coutinho, the first a penalty, and an opportunistic Firmino strike put Liverpool 3-0 up inside 18 minutes.

After the break, Mane and Coutinho struck in quick succession, the latter completing his first Liverpool hat-trick, before further neatly worked goals from Mane and Salah took the team's goal tally to 32 in nine matches.

I don’t think anybody will be happy when they get us in the draw. Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp

Klopp could not hide his delight, saying they had scored "unbelievably nice goals", but there was also a note of caution.

"We should not think it will be like this from now until the end of our lives," he said.

As group winners, Liverpool should get a kinder draw in the last 16, but with Bayern Munich, Juventus and Real Madrid among their potential opponents, Klopp does not expect any favours.

He said: "I don't think anybody will be happy when they get us in the draw, so we will not be happy when we see who we will face in the next round. But we will be ready, that's for sure."

Emre Can received a booking that rules him out of the first leg of their last-16 tie. Left back Alberto Moreno, who limped off in tears due to an injury, is doubtful for the Everton match. - AFP

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