Vincent Kompany is adamant that Manchester City still believe they can reach the Uefa Champions League semi-finals, despite their 3-0 defeat to Liverpool.
The Premier League leaders need to produce one of the biggest second-leg turnarounds in the competition’s history after suffering their heaviest loss of the season on Wednesday.
“There’s not one single person at Manchester City who believes this game is over," Kompany said. "Not one person. We have to live with the consequences of this result but that’s what makes football special.”
Barcelona lost 4-0 to Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 last season, recovering in spectacular style to win the return fixture 6-1 and progress. City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne takes heart from that comeback.
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“It’s not impossible, it’s difficult. You never know," the Belgian said. "The way this team plays, everything is possible, but it’s going to need something special.
“They are going to be the big favourites, but I think we have played a lot of games where it was possible to score three goals so why not? But obviously they have a big advantage.”
City have conceded seven goals in their last two matches against Liverpool and know that, if they let in one on Tuesday their task will be harder, especially as they failed to record a shot on target at Anfield.
“If we need to score five, so be it," Kompany said. "We’ve prided ourselves all season on being the team that we are.”
The Belgian defender rued a disastrous spell in the first half when Liverpool scored three times through Mohamed Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mane.
“It was just for a very short period of time we threw a lot away,” he said. “Conceding one goal is not the end of the world in a two-legged tie and we knew that and should have kept it at that, but within very little time you find yourself climbing a mountain before you’ve even gone halfway in the tie and that shouldn’t happen.”
Liverpool supporters produced a febrile atmosphere at Anfield, and Kompany believes their City counterparts can be just as loud and influential next week.
“They have always shown up on big games and big nights and this will be one of them,” he said. “It’s been all nice and easy looking from the outside. It’s not been when you’re playing. Now we’ve got to do it the hard way and they [the fans] have got a massive role to play. Fair play to Liverpool – their fans, the club, the way they lived up to this event but it’s our time to do it now.”
City’s chances were boosted when Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson picked up a late caution on Wednesday, meaning he is banned for the second leg and making it imperative Emre Can returns to fitness, while the 38-goal scorer Salah came off.
“Mo came to the sideline and said he felt something,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said. “After the game I asked him and he said he felt fine.” The Egyptian is being assessed.