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Cardiff our only focus - says Klopp

Barca can wait as Liverpool boss plots route to Premier League title


Liverpool striker Sadio Mane, pictured here in action against Porto in midweek, has been in blistering form of late

Liverpool striker Sadio Mane, pictured here in action against Porto in midweek, has been in blistering form of late

Getty Images

Liverpool striker Sadio Mane, pictured here in action against Porto in midweek, has been in blistering form of late

Jurgen Klopp is keen to make sure a Champions League semi-final against Barcelona does not become a distraction for his Liverpool players with crucial Premier League games coming up.

Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firminho and Virgil van Dijk were on the scoresheet as Wednesday's 4-1 win in Porto secured a last-four meeting between the Premier League leaders and LaLiga's top side.

The mouth-watering clash is in danger of making Liverpool's upcoming fixtures against Cardiff and Huddersfield look a little mundane by comparison.

But with the Premier League title race against Manchester City as tight as ever, Klopp knows they must stay focused.

Asked how his side might stop Lionel Messi and all, the German smiled.

"Thank God I don't have to think about that tonight and I have a few more nights to think about it," he said.

"Everybody tries to do it and nobody can do it. We are looking forward to it but we have so many jobs to do before we play Barcelona.

"First let's play these games and then we will play Barcelona and we will see.


"We play on Sunday against Cardiff that's in my mind, not how we play against Barcelona. We have enough time for that."

Klopp promised to wake up yesterday with Sunday's game at Cardiff at the forefront of his mind.

"We have three days now to recover," he said. "We must be ready for another intense football game.

"Cardiff are now back in the race with the result (at Brighton) so I don't think it will be any less intense than tonight. So that's the next job."

Klopp's side came through the game at the Estadio do Dragao without any fresh injury troubles, while there was the welcome sight of Joe Gomez making his first appearance since December following a leg fracture.

Divock Origi made his first European start in three years in attack with Roberto Firminho rested, though the Brazilian was called on to replace Origi at half-time and soon made his mark.

"We defended as a unit in the first line not too good, we had to change it at half-time," Klopp said.

"But it was nothing about Divock. In training he is in unbelievable shape. How the game developed was perhaps not the most thankful game for a striker. That's all."

Meanwhile, Van Dijk says Liverpool need a collective effort to stop Lionel Messi in their Champions League showdown.

"It's going to be very hard (to stop Messi)," Van Dijk said.

"I think he's the best player in the world but we'll see. It's going to be a great match-up for all of us.

"It's about doing it all together, it's never one-v-one, it's never just me against a particular striker.

"It's always us against everyone and I think that's the only way we can defend well."

Liverpool's comprehensive win in Portugal marked the return of Van Dijk's fellow centre-back Joe Gomez. The 21-year-old England international made his first senior appearance since December following a leg fracture when he came on as a second-half substitute. "We haven't really thought about it (the Barcelona tie) until now," Gomez said.

"It'll be a difficult game. They're one of the best in the world, clearly, and they've probably got the best player in the world and many others around him.

"So it's going to be a difficult game, but that's what the Champions League is about."