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Robert Lewandowski on facing Liverpool and Klopp

"He released that striker's instinct in me," Bayern's Robert Lewandowski said as he prepared for a reunion with Jürgen Klopp.

Jürgen Klopp and Robert Lewandowski during their Dortmund days
Jürgen Klopp and Robert Lewandowski during their Dortmund days ©Getty Images

On facing Liverpool…

What did I think when I saw the draw? That we will be up against a very strong team and that it's time to show how good we are.

They have a strong defence, they play steadily and have so many good players. The transition between defence and attack is very short because they play offensively. When you're playing against Liverpool, a team that has so many good players, anything can happen. But for us, if we are ready 100%, anything can happen for us as well.

See all of Lewandowski's #UCL goals

In the round of 16, one mistake can make the difference. At a stage where you only have two games, fear is always in the back of your mind. Both teams have to control what happens in defence. We made mistakes last year and the year before, and I hope that this year we will be ready so we don't make any mistakes and if Liverpool make one, we will be ready to turn that mistake into a goal.

On his Anfield debut…

I am really looking forward to it. I know that their fans don't want us or me to score a goal or win, but for me personally, in such an atmosphere I'm even more energised at the blow of the whistle for kick-off. That's what makes it special for me and I'm excited to play in such a stadium. And if you win, it's even better.

On Jürgen Klopp…

He made a huge impact on my career. I have to be thankful to him because of what we did together at [Borussia] Dortmund. We grew together and it's led me to where I am today. He's a great coach and a great person. I learned a lot from him.

He released that striker's instinct in me and that allowed me to make the next step up. I didn't know that I still had so much potential, more than I thought, and that means he saw something in me that I couldn't see.

The first leg is at Anfield on 19 February
The first leg is at Anfield on 19 February©Getty Images

His words and his body language resonate, even when he's in the dugout. If the game's not going well and you see his reaction it wakes up the team and sometimes you personally, and then you're willing to run and get stuck in. He loves the game, he loves being in the dressing room before the game. You see he's ready to put 100% into the game.

On the similarities between Liverpool and Klopp's Dortmund…

When we were at Dortmund, we sometimes played defensively and waited to attack. We were like a bulldog. We waited until the opponents were a bit closer to us and we were ready to win the ball, break forward and then score.

Of course, the teams aren't the same and it's a different time to what it was then, it was eight years ago. Jürgen has probably also changed and worked on mistakes he's made in the past. However, I think this team [Liverpool] aren't the same but are similar to the previous Dortmund team. You can't compare the players – every team has different players. But what I meant is how they play with the ball from defence to attack and the style.

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