Jürgen Klopp considers Liverpool reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League for the second year running to be another ‘big statement’ from the club.

The Reds set up a meeting with FC Barcelona in the last four of Europe’s premier club competition after a 6-1 aggregate victory over FC Porto in the quarter-finals.

Holding a two-goal advantage from last week’s first leg at Anfield, Klopp’s side ran out 4-1 winners in the return fixture at the Estadio do Dragao on Wednesday evening courtesy of goals from Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Virgil van Dijk.

Read on for a transcript of the manager’s post-match press conference…

On his reaction to Liverpool’s performance and place in the semi-finals…

I am very, very happy, as you can imagine. I said before it would be very difficult, probably you all thought that’s what I had to say, but I knew it so how can I be surprised now it was difficult? A few things in football you cannot defend in the first place, the long balls they play in behind, the physicality. There were a lot of really physical challenges where as a defender you have to be a bit more careful because if you make a foul then it’s a free-kick, what they wanted, or even worse, maybe a penalty. Then we had not the best reaction on the second balls, so they had too many of them – especially in the centre.

We tried to change the system a couple of times and finally we changed at half-time, 4-4-1-1, and it helped because then we closed the centre better, we could keep them on one side and they couldn’t switch the sides like they did before with a lot of direction in the game. We had to defend in the first half an hour a lot in the last third. That’s OK, it’s no problem, it’s the work you have to do in a football game. The boys did that and a big difference to the past is that it doesn’t cost us confidence, if we have to do it then we do it. If we are under pressure, no problem, we have to defend there and then after that we know we will get chances. We had them, we scored a goal, had a big chance before half-time.

Second half, it was clear Porto would come out again with high intensity, but they then cannot keep the level until the end, so moments for us would come again. We used them and so we won the game and now are in the semi-final – unbelievable, really, what a competition and we are second time in a row in the semis. That’s really something crazy, unbelievable.

On whether progressing in the manner in which they did will have benefits for Liverpool…

There was a lot of drama on the pitch, but maybe not the drama. In the last third of the season, we see the finish line already and you need to have a little bit of luck with injuries and stuff like that, it’s very important. Now, [we play on] Sunday, we have three days to recover, but we fly tomorrow and stuff like that and then make ourselves ready for another very, very intense football game. Cardiff are completely back in the race with the result from yesterday, so they will fight for it. I don’t think it will be less intense than tonight, so that’s the next job to do.

On whether the 6-1 aggregate scoreline was a fair reflection of the two games…

I don’t think it’s a result that reflects the two games. In the first game, we were the clear better side – 2-0 is OK, but we dominated the game, we played a really good football game – and that made life really difficult for Porto. Tonight, it was the other way around, they made our life very difficult, they were really direct. It is really nice to be part of a game like this when the crowd is like this and behind the team, even as the away team and obviously they didn’t like us too much, it was a very good football atmosphere, they used it. It was so powerful the game of Porto and so difficult to deal with, but we scored the goals and that’s how a result like this can happen.

Porto needed an early goal tonight, they didn’t score it and then, as I said, the intensity level drops a little bit and we are still there, it’s not that we forgot how to play football. We have our strengths even in a difficult game, so I am completely happy. Nobody is interested in the 6-1 or whatever, I didn’t think about it and will not think about it – it is only important you go through and we went through. Last year [was] not a 5-0, honestly. I said that before and I don’t say it only to be gentle or nice or whatever. We played a good game, it was not a 5-0, but we still took the result. This year it is not a 6-1, but anyway we want to go through, we are through, and I think that’s deserved as well.

On whether Liverpool can overcome Barcelona…

We are in the semi-final, we play against Barcelona, you can imagine I don’t think too much about it. But I’m really happy about the fact that we play them. We will find things where we think we probably could use it or whatever, but on the other hand side, I don’t care, I don’t mind tonight. Tonight we are in the semi-final and we play on Sunday against Cardiff – that’s in my mind and will be in my mind 100 per cent when I wake up tomorrow and not how we play against Barcelona.

We have enough time for that and we can watch so many teams who tried it already and maybe we find something. I’m looking forward to it, but not tonight. It’s brilliant. The news that there’s a competition, a proper football game between Barcelona and Liverpool, I think that’s really good news. I’m happy for all the people in the club that it’s like this; second time in the second year in the semi-final. That’s a big statement. However you go there, it’s difficult. Everybody tries it and nobody did it in the last two years. I am really proud of the boys, it’s brilliant what they did. We did it in different ways, it makes it even more special. I’m really happy.

On whether reaching the semi-finals feels different compared to last season…

The group stage last year was already different. I don’t know what kind of results we had, crazy results in the group stages and that, of course, carries you a little bit through the whole competition. This year it was much more difficult, a lot of difficult away games, but last year we had a very difficult away game at Manchester City if you remember, a very difficult away game at Rome and we still did it somehow. I know people like to be disrespectful for kind of a team like Porto and you think, ‘Oh, Liverpool got Porto’… We knew how difficult it is. We won 2-0 at home and that was deserved.

And here today, anything could have happened. We dealt really well with it, so I’m really happy with that. In the quarter-finals of the Champions League there are only unbelievably strong teams – in the semi-finals as well, by the way. I didn’t see anything of the Tottenham-City game obviously, so I cannot say anything about that. But what I saw now twice from Ajax Amsterdam… if I would wear my hat still, I would have to [tip it]. It’s unbelievable how they play. On a football way, I have to say [the] biggest compliment for how they went through, beating Madrid and Juve in the way they did it – it’s unbelievable. Four really strong teams in the semis and it stays interesting.

On stopping Lionel Messi…

Thank God I don’t have to think about that tonight and thank God I have a few more nights to think about it! I think everybody tried it so far and nobody can really do it. We still will try it. But we are looking forward to it, but we have so many jobs to do before we meet Barcelona. So let’s first play these games and then let’s prepare for Barcelona. Then we will see. I have never played Barcelona in a proper game, so [it’s] my first time there and I’m looking forward to it.

On the decision to start Divock Origi ahead of Firmino…

Bobby had absolutely no fitness issues and that he doesn’t get any, that’s why we started with Divock. Then because we defended as a unit in the first line not too good, we had to change it at half-time. It’s no problem, it was nothing about Divock. Div in training, he’s in unbelievable shape and shows that all the time. How the game developed was not the most thankful game for a striker, but that’s how it is. He has no issues.

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