Liverpool Manager Jurgen Klopp spoke to the Press yesterday in his Pre-Match Press Conference.
Klopp’s Reds are in Rome for the Second-Leg of their Champions League Semi-Final against Roma. Liverpool are in a comfortable position to progress through to the Final as they go into the match with a 5-2 lead.
The Press Conference began with British reporters asking Klopp about the Roma Ultras attack that left Liverpool supporter Sean Cox in a coma.
“I think we all have an opinion and that is the only fight in a football game is on the pitch. I hope after one week where we spoke a lot about it, and it’s good that Sean Cox and his family should feel our support, but I really hope everybody understood that tomorrow around the game in this wonderful city, with good weather, that everyone can walk to the stadium and look forward to an intense, fantastic and very important football game”.
Yesterday Roma trained with shirts that had the message ‘Forza Sean’ on the front.
“It was a great, great, great gesture. I already thought Roma showed a great gesture when training at Anfield and placing flowers at the memorial for the 96.
“These two teams deserve to be here because of football, because they show the maximum respect for the other side. There was no battle in the last game, where they were 5-0 and started kicking, that didn’t happen. They have a fantastic mentality and that’s how we think too.
“In these moments, all football fans and professionals should really stay together and show this respect”.
Klopp is without his assistant Manager Zeljko Buvac amid reports of a huge argument between the pair, the Liverpool Manager refused to give an answer though.
“We gave a club statement and that’s all we are saying at the moment. Nothing else.
“It’s great to be here and the boys gave us the opportunity to be here with the games they played and attitude they showed throughout the Champions League campaign.
“If we have the result we need, if not, then Roma had a very good campaign as well. If they get it and deserve it, that’s part of the game.
“We are here to fight for our dreams and want to go to the Final. After the game, people acted as if we lost, but we won 5-2. And after a week people say Roma ‘only’ need to win 3-0, but that’s quite a result.
“There’s a football game to play and I’m really looking forward to it. You want to play for the big stakes”.
Roma haven’t conceded a single goal at home in the Champions League this season and are undefeated at the Stadio Olimpico in this season’s tournament. The Giallorossi have defeated Chelsea and Barcelona 3-0 in Rome.
“I’ve never played here, we will see tomorrow. We are not Chelsea, we are not Barcelona. We won 7-0 against Moscow at Anfield, what does that mean? Nothing.
“If Rome wins 3-0 or higher than congratulations, go to the final, that’s the sport.
“We’re in a much better situation than I would have thought before the game, that’s the truth. It’s not perfect. Whatever I say, we still have to play, and I really like that fact. After all the things we’ve talked about, we still have a game.
“Everybody’s telling us that it’s quite difficult and it’s possible – nobody told Barcelona, because nobody imagined it could happen. I didn’t need a warning, but if I did there it was.
“There are different things you need in tomorrow’s game and, first and foremost, you need to be ready. The closer the game comes, everyone is telling us being three goals up is not good enough.
“I don’t say it’s not possible, because it’s football, but it must be at least very difficult and that’s how we have to make it”.
Liverpool beat Roma on oenalties in the 1984 European Cup Final at the Stadio Olimpico.
“We want to play on the big stage for the big things and that is why we are here. The specific story of Liverpool games in Rome is great, but nobody here really thinks it’ll help a lot that our grandfathers won here.
“It’s just a game in a wonderful stadium, in a wonderful city against a very strong side. Creating history isn’t because you say it beforehand. It happens and then someone says, that’s history.
“We don’t have to make it bigger than it is, because it’s big enough. We have to do what our boys are best at, playing football, and then we’ll see the score.
“The nature of the game is that it can turn at any minute. Let’s not forget, we are difficult to play. There’s no perfect plan, you can’t say that this’ll work 100 per cent, you just have to work on probability and then play.
“If you really want to win, you have to accept that you could lose and be brave, not wait for something to happen. We need to be active and use their situation much more than they can use it, because they have to win against us and take a risk.
“If we concentrate, it’ll be difficult for them to score, and then they’ll take more risks. Don’t forget it’s crazy enough, but we could’ve scored seven goals in the first leg. Strootman and Kolarov had these great chances, yes, but Sadio Mane and Mo Salah had chances too. It’s not decided”.
Mo Salah has enjoyed a successful season with Liverpool, and has improved his game since leaving Roma. Klopp was asked about this.
“He has matured, he got confidence here. He came from Chelsea to Florence, played a good season, not as good as the season at Rome. He grew up and now we are the lucky guys to have him in the team.
“He already knew how to score goals, he has to get his own experiences and that’s what he did throughout his journey, carrying the responsibility for a while country and he deals with it. His teammates help him and he helps them”.