- Steven Gerrard praises Liverpool for defensive improvement
- Rio Ferdinand tips Reds to progress beyond quarter-finals in Champions League
- SEE MORE: Simon Mignolet reacts to being benched on his birthday against Porto
Steven Gerrard couldn’t hide his enjoyment as he sat beside a Rio Ferdinand heaping praise on Liverpool after Tuesday night’s clash with Porto.
The Reds booked a place in the Champions League last eight for the first time since the 2008/2009 campaign, in which they were eventually knocked out by Chelsea.
A comfortable 5-0 aggregate lead heading into the return leg at Anfield afforded Jurgen Klopp’s men the freedom of missed opportunities and a less-explosive display than fans have come to expect.
Speaking to BT Sport after the game, Gerrard lauded his former team’s defensive improvement before foe-turned-colleague tipped Liverpool as outsiders to produce a long run in the competition.
“People talk about the front three and how dangerous they are, but defensively they’ve tightened up a lot. The goalkeeper’s in great form, [Virgil] van Dijk has made a big impact but they’ve cut out the mistakes,” Gerrard said.
“You wouldn’t want to draw Liverpool.” 👀
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 6, 2018
Ferdinand added: “You wouldn’t want to play Liverpool. I don’t care who you are in this tournament, that front three, the way they play, with that intensity and with the pace they’ve got in that team, they are going to be a hard proposition for any team in this tournament.”
Liverpool’s ever-improving defence teases a long-yearned dimension in terms of reassurance that this team’s goal-scoring prowess will rarely go unrewarded.
Van Dijk has already made a notable difference with his presence alone, asserting himself as a commanding figure both on and off the pitch and injecting a confidence into the way Liverpool defend.
At the other end, Klopp’s front three flaunt the traits capable of punishing any team in the competition and exploiting the likelihood of final eight sides exercising their attacking ambition.
Now we wait to see who the Reds face next.