Champions League: Liverpool and Jürgen Klopp look to Roma for inspiration | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 06.05.2019
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Champions League: Liverpool and Jürgen Klopp look to Roma for inspiration

Premier League side Liverpool have a mountain to climb as they attempt to overcome a three-goal deficit against Barcelona on Tuesday night. To make matters worse, Jürgen Klopp's team are also missing two key players.

If Jürgen Klopp needs inspiration ahead of Liverpool's Champions League semifinal second leg against Barcelona, he can look back no further than this time last season.

Twelve months ago, Liverpool faced AS Roma at this stage of last year's competition – after the Italian side had knocked out Barcelona in the quarterfinal. To do so, the Romans had overturned a three-goal deficit from the first leg in the Camp Nou.

Now, if Liverpool are to reach a second consecutive Champions League final, they will have to repeat that feat against the Catalan giants at Anfield on Tuesday night.

Having failed to score an away goal during their 3-0 defeat in Spain however, Liverpool need to score four – one more than Roma did. And they'll have to do it without two of their three first-choice strikers, with Mohammed Salah and Roberto Firmino both out injured.

"This is not an evening for big soundbites or things like: 'it's only halftime, we just need an early goal' and all that," said an uncharacteristically reserved Klopp at Monday's press conference. "We're missing two of the best strikers in the world and we need to score four goals."

"Still, as long as we have 11 players out on that pitch, we'll give it a go," he added. "We have to be ready to fight for 95 minutes and more."

UEFA Champions League Viertelfinale | FC Liverpool vs. FC Porto | Jürgen Klopp (Reuters/C. Recine)

Jürgen Klopp knows his team has a mountain to climb

Their opponents, who are targeting a third treble in a decade after successes in 2009 and 2015, know they are in the driving seat, but Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde still hasn't forgotten last season's collapse in the Stadio Olimpico.

"We had a three-goal advantage last year as well and we still got knocked out," he said. "So we have no reason to be complacent. The result is good, I have no doubt about that, but the tie is still open."

Even without Salah and Firmino, Liverpool are a superior opponent to Roma and have scored three or more goals on 19 occasions already this season – including away at Newcastle United on Saturday night, where a late winner from former Wolfsburg loanee Divock Origi kept the Reds in the Premier League title race.

But while Liverpool endured a five-goal thriller at St James' Park, Valverde was able to rest almost his entire starting 11 for Barcelona's trip to Celta Vigo at the weekend, with the Catalans having already wrapped up their La Liga title. "We have the advantage of being champions already," he said. "So of course we will try to use it."

Ernesto Valverde (picture-alliance/Pressefoto ULMER/A. Lingria)

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde wants to banish memories of Rome

One of those who dropped to the bench in Galicia was Philippe Coutinho, a player who could find himself being targeted by both sets of fans if he starts on Tuesday. The Brazilian has drawn the ire of Barcelona fans after sarcastically cupping his ears after scoring against Manchester United earlier in the competition – a response to criticism he has received from supporters this season. Having also spent five years at Liverpool, he could be in for a frosty reception.

Either way, the usually quiet home crowd will have a role to play if Liverpool are to complete a miraculous comeback.

"If we do it, brilliant," said Klopp. "If not, let's at least go out playing nicely."

mf/pfd (dpa/SID)

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