Rafa Benitez says patience and intensity will be key to Liverpool ’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League.
The former Reds’ chief says there is no reason why Jurgen Klopp’s side cannot turn around their two-goal deficit to Real Madrid at Anfield.
But he believes that both cool heads and an in crease in the energy levels will be needed to claw back the goals against Los Blancos.
Benitez is busy doing his homework from his home in the north-west ahead of his next assignment and has been adding yet more information on players to his personal database, taking in the best the continent has to offer this week.
And he says that there is no need to charge headlong into the return leg.
He said: “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.”
Benitez says that trying to pinpoint weaknesses within the Real Madrid side is difficult as, by definition, they are top opponents.
But he does not feel this Liverpool side did itself justice in Spain. And he thinks that if pressure is brought to bear in one or two key areas that it could reap reward.
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.”
Benitez also sat through Borussia Dortmund’s visit to the Etihad Stadium and believes that the hosts’ desire to push forward will play into Manchester City ’s hands.
He added: “Dortmund have talented young players – such as Erling Haaland and Marco Reus – who come at you with great pace.
“They are dangerous. And perhaps more dangerous than Manchester City realised – but motivation to play in the Champions League is very different to that of the domestic league.
“They are also comfortable in possession and don’t panic – as are Manchester City. They both looked good in open play – but Dortmund looked more dangerous with their counter-attack.
“Next week, they’ll be trying to go through and doing so without the benefit of having their own fans. That famous ‘wall’ won’t be there. And that will help Manchester City.
“I think it will be different in Dortmund. At the back, they have experience but they are not the quickest. I think this can be exploited. I can see Manchester City scoring and that will give them a great advantage.”
Benitez is not expecting any upset in the other quarter-final tie with Thomas Tuchel’s side well-placed to reach the last four.
“ Chelsea played very well on the counter-attack against Porto,” he said, “they struggled to cope with their pace.
“And Chelsea made good use of the wide areas. Ben Chilwell and Cesar Azpilicueta offered them a lot of options.
“It is going to be tough to go to Stamford Bridge and score three goals against that Chelsea team. I think they will have too much for them.”