LIVERPOOL, England - Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp conceded that he had not been able to bring himself to rewatch last season's Champions League final defeat by Real Madrid until this past weekend, insisting reliving the experience was "torture."
The Reds won their first three matches against Real in European competition, between 1981 and 2009. Since then, however, they are winless in six games against them, with five of those ending in defeat.
Two of those losses came in the 2018 and 2022 finals, the latter being particularly painful for Klopp ahead of the visit of Real to Anfield for the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.
"Different things happened to us with Real Madrid," Klopp told a news conference on Monday. "One of the biggest clubs in the world, super experienced. Our own story, we played this final in Paris (last year). I didn't watch it back until this weekend and I know why I didn't watch it back now, it was proper torture. We played a good game and could've won the game. They scored a decisive goal and we didn't. You could see how experienced Madrid is."
Liverpool are enduring a disappointing season domestically, sitting eighth in the Premier League standings, 19 points behind leaders Arsenal. Klopp does not believe that means Liverpool should go into Tuesday's clash against the record 14-time European champions with any trepidation.
"I'm really happy we can play this game now rather than a few weeks ago," Klopp added. "We need to play a super game. Two super games to be honest to get through. I have no problem with that. We always work so hard for qualifying for the Champions League that I really think you have to cherish these moments. It will be a special game.
"I expect Anfield on their toes. They saw us in better shape last two games, more things to look forward to. It's Real Madrid. We can't play this game without respect. They are absolutely world class. It's a well set-up team and that's why it's so difficult. But that doesn't mean it's impossible."
Klopp also added that there is a "chance" Darwin Nunez could be fit to play against Real. The Uruguayan forward went off with a shoulder injury against Newcastle United at the weekend.
(Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Christian Radnedge)
How to watch Liverpool vs. Real Madrid in USA
2022-23 UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg
Date: Tuesday, Feb. 21 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | Location: Anfield
TV: CBS, TUDN USA, Univision USA | Stream: Paramount+, FuboTV, TUDN.com, Univision NOW, TUDN App, VIX+