Liverpool have been drawn against Roma in the semi-finals of the Champions League
Jurgen Klopp tells Roma’s defeat of Barcelona and the way they have responded to losing key players such as Mohamed Salah last summer are the marks of an” outstandingly good” side that Liverpool will not underestimate in the Champions League semi-finals.
Liverpool will host Eusebio Di Francesco’s team at Anfield on 24 April before visiting the Stadio Olimpico, the scene of their European Cup triumphs in 1977 and 1984, for the second leg on 2 May. Friday’s draw pitted the bookmakers’ favourites, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, together in the other semi-final but Klopp believes Roma’s remarkable comeback against Barcelona on Tuesday should serve as a warning to his team.
The Liverpool manager said:” Of the three options that were available, I’ve never played there before so that is already exciting. It will be two difficult games. Roma are a fantastic side, as you ensure against Barcelona. They played a very good season after a difficult transfer window for them last summertime. They lost Mo, Emerson[ to Chelsea] and other leading player but still they played a really good season and are fighting for the Champions League again. When we face Roma we will know everything about them. I considered the second leg against Barcelona and the latter are outstandingly good .”
Salah will face his former club for the first time since joining Liverpool for PS36. 9m last summer. The Egypt international’s stunning debut season with Klopp’s team has prompted inevitable speculation that he will be a target for one of Europe’s wealthiest clubs this summer. That may be the case but the Liverpool manager is adamant his leading goalscorer will be an Anfield employee next season.
” It’s not a situation I would even think about it ,” told Klopp.” Around nine months ago he came in to induce the next step in his career and he did it. He had different options and he wanted to come to Liverpool. If we now always start talking after one year of’ Will he leave ?’, or whatever, then I don’t think about.
” Yes, I’m confident. I know he will be here. That’s all. We don’t want to change all the time. We have a big chance here to make something for the future. In the moment we have to deliver performances, collecting points, winning. The age group of the team is really good.
” We are still young and full of potential and all that stuff. My impression at the moment is that they are all excited about being in this group .”
The final will take place in Kiev at the end of May but the Scotland defender, Andrew Robertson, told Liverpool will not dread any opposition.
” This club has been here before and they know how hard it is- irrespective of who you are playing- to get to the final and try to win this trophy ,” said the former Hull City left-back.” We know how hard it’s going to be and we need to try and run so hard to get to the final because we need to deserve it .”
The Roma sporting director, Monchi, has challenged his players to reproduction the same spirit they depicted in their comeback against Barca on Tuesday.
” It feels like a great opportunity to chase the joy that we were not able to experience so many years ago ,” the Spaniard said, referring to Roma’s final defeat by Liverpool in 1984.” But of course it will be difficult because Liverpool are an extremely strong side. We need to think about ourselves and try to reproduction what we were able to show against Barcelona .”
The other semi-final is between the European heavyweights, Bayern Munich and holders Real Madrid, who needed a stoppage-time penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo to see off Juventus after the Italian side had come back from 3-0 down in the first leg to briefly level the tie in the return.
” It’s one of European football’s top conflicts ,” said the Bayern manager, Jupp Heynckes, who will leave the German club at the end of the season.” It’s the defending champs against a top side with quality players .”
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