Jurgen Klopp has warned his gamers they can not focus solely on Lionel Messi when Liverpool face Barcelona within the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday.
Messi has been rested for Barca’s final two league video games and seems extra motivated than ever in Europe, after pledging to “convey that lovely cup again to Camp Nou” at first of the season.
“It’s not solely about Messi however after all it’s about him as nicely,” Klopp mentioned at a press convention on Tuesday. “Can we consider Messi? We should always in quite a lot of moments but when we solely consider him there are 10 different world-class gamers who can resolve the sport as nicely. Messi mentioned earlier than the season, ‘we need to convey again that cup’. That seems like a menace to me. Now we did it, now we’re right here and all I can say is we need to go to the ultimate as nicely.”
Liverpool hope to have their very own striker again in time for the primary leg, after Roberto Firmino educated after recovering from a muscle pressure.
“If he’s 100 per cent able to play he’ll perhaps play,” Klopp mentioned. “He’s right here. Tomorrow we’ve one other session.”
Messi is prone to be flanked by two former Liverpool gamers, with Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho anticipated to begin in an attacking three.
However whereas Suarez has flourished in Spain, Coutinho has struggled to seek out his toes since becoming a member of Barca for 120 million euros in January final yr.
“We miss Phil Coutinho lots as a result of he’s a world-class participant and I liked working with him,” Klopp mentioned. “Once I first heard he wished to go to Barcelona I couldn’t think about it could be good. However we needed to deal with out him and we did nicely.”
Barcelona haven’t misplaced at house within the Champions League since 2013 whereas the final English opponent to beat them on their very own turf was Liverpool in 2007.
‘Imply lots to win’
Ernesto Valverde has been capable of relaxation gamers in current weeks, with Barca nicely clear on the prime of La Liga earlier than confirming their 26th league title on Saturday. A draw wouldn’t be the worst outcome on the planet, not that we might go for it however it could be okay,” Klopp mentioned.
“It will imply lots to win. It’s tough, so many groups got here right here with an concept to do that or that they usually acquired an enormous knock however we noticed the sport towards Actual Sociedad they usually did nicely. Levante did nicely a few days in the past. However the higher the opposition is, the upper the stakes are, and the extra they’re engaged. Now they’re champions, they’ll fully concentrate on the Champions League.”
Klopp brought on a stir in Spain by downplaying the affect Camp Nou may need on his gamers. He instructed his feedback have been misinterpreted.
“I give 500,000 interviews and say 500,000 optimistic issues about Barcelona,” Klopp mentioned. “It’s nonetheless a stadium the place we need to play good soccer and play one of the best we are able to play. That’s allowed, that’s what we attempt to do.”
In contrast to Barcelona, Liverpool are nonetheless preventing arduous within the Premier League title race, the place just one level separates them from Manchester Metropolis, with three video games left to play.
Between the 2 legs towards Barca, Klopp’s aspect journey to Newcastle on Saturday.
“We don’t come right here considering it’s Barcelona and we need to go house and focus on Newcastle,” Klopp mentioned. “The competitors is simply too massive. No one has to consider that recreation, it could be an enormous mistake to play Barca with one other recreation in your thoughts. We would like a outcome tomorrow that offers us a great likelihood to do it at house.”
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