Zinedine Zidane has boldly predicted his Real Madrid side will eliminate Liverpool should the pair get drawn to face each other in the Champions League.
The Reds took another step in their quest to defend the European Cup as they beat Red Bull Salzburg 2-0 on Tuesday night to book their place in the last-16.
Real were already through as runners-up after Paris Saint-Germain secured top spot in Group A, but they won their final match at Club Brugge nonetheless.
A possible meeting in the next round is possible and would be a rematch of the 2018 final, when the two sides last met and Real won 3-1.
Zidane, who quit Real five days after that win before returning in March 2019, has already started the war of words.
“If we play Liverpool, we will eliminate them,” said the Frenchman with a smile. “We can’t do anything about the draw.”
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Liverpool defender Andy Robertson believes everyone wants to beat the Premier League leaders.
“Now, we know we are respected in Europe,” said Robertson. “No-one will want us but everyone who gets into the last 16 will fancy themselves. It is the toughest tournament.
“The teams you come up against are outstanding and will fancy themselves. Everyone does. Everyone is confident.
“Last year and the year before, we have been excellent in the knockout stages and we have controlled games but we know that now, we are the champions and everyone wants to beat us.
“That is what we have to deal with and hopefully we can deal with it well.
“But there are about 40 games between now and the last 16 – so we will worry about that when the time comes!
“We respect every opponent we play but we know the way we have done things in the last two years and nobody wants to play against us and that is clear – but it is up to us to keep proving that.
“We cannot rely on that and we need to keep proving why people don’t want to play against us but so far, we have done that. We will wait for the draw and see who we get in the last 16.
“We know it will be tough regardless but we look forward to the challenge as we want to go far in this tournament against and we have made a big step here.”