Defender Joe Gomez believes Europe’s top clubs have every reason to fear Liverpool in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
A 7-0 thrashing of Spartak Moscow saw the Reds make it into the last 16 for the first time since 2009 and the 23 goals they scored en route – second-highest in the all-time list behind only Paris St-Germain’s 25 in the current campaign – should serve as a warning to prospective opponents.
Topping Group E means Jurgen Klopp’s side avoid the likes of PSG, Barcelona and Roma and even though heavyweights Bayern Munich, Juventus and Real Madrid lie in wait after finishing second in their pools, Gomez believes those sides have as much to worry about as Liverpool do.
“There are some big teams in there like Real,” he said.
“Obviously they are all big games and we will be ready for them but we believe we can beat anyone and we have to have that mentality.
“We have great quality and they can be scared of us the same way we can be wary of them so that’s good.”
Against Spartak Philippe Coutinho’s first hat-trick for the club took his tally for the season to nine, while Sadio Mane is up to seven after a second-half double with Roberto Firmino on 12 after his goal, although he is still six behind top scorer Mohamed Salah, who rounded off the rout with a late effort.
In total Liverpool have scored 62 in all competitions this season, the same number as Manchester City, with only PSG (75) ahead of them.
Much of that is down to their fearsome attacking foursome and Gomez was quick to recognise their qualities.
“It is a lot easier for us when they keep scoring the goals, it’s nice to have so much ability in the team,” he added.
However, he believes the improvement in defence, with seven clean sheets in their last 12 matches, is also significant.
“(A clean sheet is) massive for us as a back four,” he added.
“After every goal (against Spartak) it was like ‘Focus. Focus.’ We didn’t want any more lapses in concentration so it was nice not to give anything away.”
That tightening up of a defence which has conceded just two goals in seven home Premier League matches could come in handy with new Everton manager Sam Allardyce bringing a rejuvenated side to Anfield for his first Merseyside derby on Sunday.
“I think they will probably be fired up and motivated,” said Gomez.
“We have our threats but it is key we are not over-confident and we have to stay composed and be aware of their threats.
“I think we have seen some teams come to Anfield and sit off but I think with the derby I don’t think they’ll come too defensive-minded as they will be fired up and want to attack us.
“We are always focused on defensive aspects of the game and will approach the game the same way we do any, just try to defend and take our chances.
“A lot of our clean sheets have come at home and that is a positive for us.
“We want people to come here and for it to be difficult for them to score and hopefully we can continue that.
“I am sure it will be a tough game and hopefully we can carry on our run.”
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