Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Comeback win over Barcelona ´one of best moments in football history´ – Klopp

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 10 May 2019

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Jurgen Klopp described Liverpool’s comeback win against Barcelona as “one of the best moments in football history”, but warned his players they cannot afford to lose focus in the Wolves game.

Trailing 3-0 to Barca from the first leg of the semi-final at Camp Nou, the Reds produced another famous Champions League performance at Anfield on Tuesday as they prevailed 4-0 in the second leg and 4-3 on aggregate.

Liverpool’s reward for beating Barcelona is a meeting with domestic rivals Tottenham in the final at the Wanda Metropolitano on June 1.

But first up is a home match against Wolves on Sunday to conclude their Premier League season, with Klopp’s men trailing league leaders Manchester City – who are away at Brighton and Hove Albion on the same day – by one point at the top of the table.

“It’s a challenge in a week like this because nobody talks about the weekend,” Klopp said at Friday’s news conference. “People say it is unbelievable how we played [against Barcelona] but now we have Wolves – that is all we are focused on, that is all. 

“It doesn’t matter what we achieved on Tuesday, even if it was one of the best moments in football history – not only for Liverpool. It has nothing to do with the weekend and that is an important part of football. 

“Wolves want to show that they are not only passengers but that they are a really good football team. I respect that a lot – we have to be ready.”

Liverpool and Tottenham defied the odds to reach the Champions League final, both recovering from three-goal aggregate deficits against Barcelona and Ajax respectively.

The Europa League final will also be contested between two English clubs, with Arsenal and Chelsea coming through respective semi-finals against Valencia and Eintracht Frankfurt.

Klopp insists having a big budget is not the most important factor in reaching a major European final, as showed by Spurs this week.

“What people say is that it is about money,” he said. “I think if you look at the semi-finals and beyond, the way Tottenham took all the difficulties after a short summer break, missing a lot of players – it shows it is not about money. It is about desire.

“I think most people would have expected Man City to face Barcelona in the final. In the Europa League there was Napoli, Valencia, Frankfurt – really strong sides involved. I don’t think it will happen a lot of times, but it is nice for England. The big clubs want to stay in Europe with all they have. The rest of the country doesn’t want that!

“Congratulations to [Mauricio] Pochettino. It was brilliant, unbelievable. What Ajax did in the whole campaign was also unbelievable. The two teams in the final are the sides to have showed the most heart in the competition. 

“I would say the most talented group went out in the semi-final – age-group wise Ajax have so many talented players. They paid a bit for the intensity of the match. 

“Pochettino brought on [Fernando] Llorente at half-time and changed the game completely. The Ajax fans probably started booking their trip [to Madrid] at half-time. That’s football. We have three weeks to be angry at Tottenham again but they deserved it.”

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