Zinedine Zidane has promised to ‘eliminate’ Liverpool if Real Madrid are drawn against the Champions League holders in the last 16.
Liverpool booked their place in the knockout stages on Tuesday night as they beat Salzburg 2-0 to top Group E, with Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah scoring second-half goals at the Red Bull Arena.
The following evening, a young Madrid side cruised to a 3-1 victory over Club Bruges and finished runners-up in Group A behind Paris Saint-Germain.
Madrid won the Champions League three times on the bounce under Zidane before being knocked out by underdogs Ajax in the round of 16 last term.
Zidane is desperate to return the trophy to the Spanish capital this season and insists his side are ready to test themselves against any opposition, even Liverpool who they beat in the 2018 final.
‘If we play Liverpool, we will eliminate them,’ Zidane said with a smile following Madrid’s win over Club Bruges.
‘We can’t do anything about the draw.’
On Madrid’s performance at the Jan Breydel Stadium, the Frenchman added: ‘We are happy with the victory and with the way we played.
‘We had difficulty with our game since they usually play with five at the back and, today, they played with four.
‘It took 10 or 15 minutes for the players to adjust. ‘The second half was better in every area.’
Klopp was similarly happy with his side’s display against an ‘unbelievably strong’ Salzburg team. ‘I couldn’t have more respect for what Salzburg is doing,’ the German said.
‘I know how people see it – you think being the best team in Austria is “OK”.
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‘Then you see how good they are, how good they were in the first game, how good they were against Napoli and Genk and then you could come here as the current Champions League winner and misunderstand that situation.
‘And I love it, I really love it that my team is so smart that they listen and they put in a shift in like that.
‘Salzburg was unbelievably strong, especially in the first half, but we as well were ready for that fight.’