Jurgen Klopp has warned Europe’s elite that Liverpool are back for good as he prepares for the club’s first Champions League semi-final in a decade.
Few expected Liverpool to make the last four of club football’s most prestigious competition and there is a feeling they may be left cursing their luck if they do not take advantage of a golden opportunity against Roma.
Klopp, though, believes the tie – Liverpool’s first at this stage since Chelsea beat them in 2008 – is a sign of things to come.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has sent out a warning for European football’s elite
It is why he will not be telling his squad to make the most of these games as he expects more nights like this in the future.
‘This is big – but it’s not a once in the lifetime chance,’ said Klopp, who took Borussia Dortmund to the 2013 final at Wembley.
‘I am already for the second time in the semi-finals. If I go, I will be the second time in the final. That’s pretty rare.
The Champions League this season feels like a moment Liverpool must take advantage of
‘I would say (seize the moment) if I was in doubt about the attitude of the boys but I am not. We all feel the same excitement. We all came here together. If I now start to do something really special, then it would be: “OK, now he thinks this team’s game could be a bigger problem.”
‘We realise this is only as a step and we really think we deserve it. That’s cool – now let’s use that fantastic situation. Let’s go there and play our best football we are able to and let’s see what happens.’
Being paired with Roma – from whom Liverpool signed Mohamed Salah for £36..9million last July – conjures many memories, particularly of the 1984 European Cup final. Captain Jordan Henderson has been immersing himself in history and intends to use past deeds as spur.
Anfield provided an electric atmosphere as Liverpool ran rampant against City in the first leg
‘We definitely take inspiration from that team,’ said Henderson. ‘But at the same time our focus is to create our own history. We want people to look back at this team in 20 or 30 years’ time and say how good we were and how special this year – and the next few years – will be.
‘We are in a great place but I feel this is just the start of something special. This is the first of huge games and hopefully we can have many more to come over the next few years.
‘We’ve just got to keep improving because we can still be better. It will have to be the perfect performance to get a good result.’
Salah returned to Merseyside on Monday after spending Sunday night in London, having been crowned PFA Player of the Year. It will be an emotional reunion with Roma but Klopp is not worried about sentiment affect his performance.
‘I’m pretty sure Italian defenders are famous for not having friendly games,’ said Klopp, who has no fresh injury concerns.
‘So I think Mo will feel pretty early in the game they are not his team-mates anymore and then he can strike back in a football way.’