Jürgen Klopp explained why Liverpool are relishing the opportunity to showcase their best football when they face FC Barcelona at Camp Nou on Wednesday night.

The Reds meet the Spanish giants in the opening leg of their much-anticipated Champions League semi-final – and on the eve of the tie, the manager spoke to the media inside the stadium.

Klopp fielded questions on how his side will approach the occasion, what a victory would mean, the challenge of taking on Barcelona, and dealing with the demands of two competitions.

Read a summary of his pre-match press conference at Camp Nou below…

On Roberto Firmino’s fitness…

If Bobby is 100 per cent ready to play then he will maybe play. He is here, he trained today, we have tomorrow another session and then I have to make a decision. That’s it.

On the biggest challenge facing Liverpool at Camp Nou…

What can I say bad about this stadium? But it’s still a stadium where we want to play football and want to play good football – and, in an ideal world, the best football we are able to play. And that’s allowed, that’s why we try it. We play in stadiums like this. We never played here; we were here together watching a game two or three years ago when Barcelona played against Gladbach. In this game they didn’t play for the big stakes anymore – Barcelona were through and Gladbach were out – but it still was impressive. But of course we know that if you are in this part of the world it’s very emotional and the better we are, the more emotional the atmosphere will be. That’s how it is and it should be like that, we accept that.

There’s home advantage for Barcelona tomorrow and we have the home advantage next Tuesday, then we will see who could use the advantage more. We know how difficult it is to play against Barcelona because of the quality they have. It’s not only about Messi but of course it’s about him as well. Can we concentrate on Messi? We should in a lot of moments. But if you do it only, there are 10 world-class players around who decide the game easily then. They have the highest quality team, they are already Spanish champions. Messi said before the season, ‘We want to bring back this cup.’ Now we are here and I can only say we want to go to the final as well – if we can show that tomorrow night that would be cool.

On what it would mean to win the game…

A lot. It’s difficult. So many people came to Barcelona and had to play them, and had an idea and a plan and spoke about, ‘If we do this, if we do that…’ – and got a proper knock. But there were a few who could really cause them problems; we saw the game against Real Sociedad, they did really well. Levante did well a couple of days ago. Of course, the better the opponent is, the better the competition is, the higher the stakes are, the more they are in. Now they are champions since last Saturday and now they can completely focus on the Champions League. We will face them still and I’m really looking forward to it. But it will be a tough job to do.

On whether the Champions League is Liverpool’s best chance to win a trophy this season…

I don’t know. We still have to play against Barcelona, it’s not that it’s a 100 per cent chance. If you go to Vegas and throw 10 dollars somewhere in, I’m not sure how big the chances are. But we have a chance in both competitions and we have to play these games. It’s not lost tomorrow before it’s played and the other games are not lost or won, we have to play them and that’s what we do. In this moment, I don’t need to know which is the bigger chance for us to win. We have to work tomorrow here and not think about what we can do. If we go to the final, we have three weeks to think about what we have to do, three weeks is the time until the final. It’s all good, we are here, we want to play our best football and we will see what we get for it.

On what it’s like to be involved in the race for two trophies…

It’s brilliant. The only thing that would be better is if someone told us we are already champions but that’s quite difficult to reach. In other years it could have been like this but it’s not a problem, we are completely fine. We like the situation, the boys created that situation and now we are here. It’s a wonderful situation, to be honest: flying here, going to Barcelona. It’s not even two years ago that it was a big, big thing for the club to qualify for the Champions League and now we are second time in a row in the semi-finals – that’s big. It’s only positive and everybody sees it like that.

We don’t need a guarantee, to come here and think, ‘It’s only Barcelona, we play that and then we go home and concentrate on Newcastle.’ That would be nice but it’s not possible, the competition is too big and we like that. We don’t play against City at home, we play against Newcastle when we come home and City against Leicester. Nobody has to think about that game tomorrow, we only have to think about this game. It would be a massive mistake if you play against Barcelona with 15 or 20 per cent Newcastle in your mind. It doesn’t work. Then you get a proper knock. We want to avoid that. We want a result tomorrow that gives us a good chance to do it at home. Whatever that result is, we will see.

On whether Barcelona will be the toughest opponent he’s faced as Liverpool manager in Europe…

I’m not sure it’s allowed to say it here, but against Real Madrid it was not easy as well. Because I beat Real Madrid a couple of times, maybe not in Spain but at home with Dortmund, one day I got a table in a full restaurant in Ibiza! First they said it was full when I came in for a table, but then they said, ‘Ah, you’re Jürgen Klopp! You beat Real Madrid, so you get a table!’ So that was very difficult as well; we’ve had a lot of difficult games. Against Bayern [Munich], come on, that’s not easy! I know we always lose respect so quick when they don’t perform constantly on the highest level, but Barcelona is – for all managers in the world – one of the toughest games to play ever. And we have in the league Manchester City and that’s not a walk in the park when you play them, so we have a lot of difficult games to play and this is another one.

You don’t want to avoid difficult games in football, you want to have them because that means you play for something – and that’s what we do. It’s not a problem. Will we be perfect tomorrow night? For sure not, that’s not possible. Will we make mistakes? Yes. Will we suffer? Yes, 100 per cent. Will there be moments when we have a chance? Oh, 100 per cent. [Will we] use them? I hope so, that’s what we try to do. We can be completely free to play that game. I know people make of it that we became better in the last couple of years and – maybe not here – but people say Barcelona are not the Barcelona anymore without Xavi and Iniesta or whatever. It is a brilliant team here and we are [for] the first year or the second year a little bit in contention, but they are here for maybe 20 years. It will be so difficult, but I couldn’t be more excited about having the opportunity to play it. That’s what I hope I can transport to my players – that they feel the same. Let’s play football.

On whether Lionel Messi is the best footballer in the world…

Messi would be for me – as a player I’ve seen – the No.1. 100 per cent, that’s me. Cristiano Ronaldo is for sure in that as well and all the rest we have to see, I have coached a few really good players, but they didn’t finish their careers and they still have time to develop. My father always said it was Pele, but I didn’t see Pele live – I am too young for that. There are lot of good players around, but that’s my ranking – Leo is, for me, the best.

On whether the winners of this tie will be favourites in the final against either Tottenham or Ajax…

Look, people think a lot and talk even more. We have to play football. Who cannot have respect for Ajax Amsterdam after what they have done in their Champions League campaign? Does anybody think if they go through next week, ‘Thank God it is Ajax Amsterdam!’? Look, they are brilliant, brilliant. Tottenham are such a strong team, they are in the semi-final of the Champions League – I know what kind of characters they are, how they fight. There is no favourite. If Barca go through, maybe they are favourite. If we go through, we are one of two teams in a final and will try everything to win it. It is not decided and it’s not important because there is a date in Madrid and somebody will decide it [then] and we’ll know who it is.

Reds train at Melwood before Camp Nou clash

On whether Liverpool’s European pedigree gives the team extra motivation…

What can we do more apart from winning the final? We’ve played now three times in European competition, with a one-year break. The first year we were part of the Europa League and went to the final and lost it. Sorry. Then a one-year break, the next year Champions League qualification, we went to the final and lost it. Sorry. We cannot do more, we don’t need extra motivation, we are fighting like crazy. In the Europa League season for sure, we came on three wheels into the final after 63 games and stuff like that. Last year, we saw it, was a bit unlucky against a very strong team. We cannot do more. We dream like you dream, we try everything. You cannot as an aim, really, to be a kind of legend in the future, you have to do the work and if somebody looks at you in the future and thinks you’re a legend then it happened and all good. We try all we can; we always did and we always will do. Then we will see what will happen. It is difficult, it is really, really an outstanding achievement to be the second time in a row in the semi-final. And rightly so that now Barcelona are waiting – a tough, tough opponent, but we still want to try to do it. That’s all.

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