Saturday 23 February 2019

Klopp: 'We can't discount Roma after Barca win'

Shock: Roma’s Daniele De Rossi and Alessandro Florenzi celebrate beating Barcelona
Shock: Roma’s Daniele De Rossi and Alessandro Florenzi celebrate beating Barcelona

European heavyweights Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are the big-hitters in today's Champions League semi-final draw but Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp does not under-estimate surprise package Roma.

On the night when the Reds were securing a 5-1 aggregate win over Manchester City, the Serie A side produced a major shock in overturning a 4-1 first-leg deficit to beat Barcelona on away goals.

With the last-four line-up completed by 12-time winners and defending champions Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, who have lifted the trophy five times, real pedigree potentially awaits Klopp's team.

Real have won three of the last four finals while Bayern's last win was in 2013 - against Klopp's Borussia Dortmund - after finishing runner-up twice in three years.

By contrast Liverpool, for whom the last of their five triumphs came in Istanbul in 2005, are in their first Champions League semi-final for a decade.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Although Roma are in the last-four for only the second time after finishing runners-up in 1984, Klopp was impressed with the manner of their comeback against Barcelona.

Drawing them would produce an early reunion for 39-goal Mohamed Salah, who left the Italian capital in the summer in a £38million deal which is now looking good value.

"I walked up the stairs and somebody told me (Roma had gone through) - I really thought it was a joke," he said after the win over City.

"Not that I don't respect Roma, the absolute opposite. They have a fantastic team. They lost Mo Salah and they are in the semis, that's quite a big thing."

Of the clubs that remain in the competition Liverpool have the best record against Real. Klopp insists they are focusing on themselves rather than their opponents as the prospect of a first European Cup final since 2007.

"I don't care who is in (the competition). We are here and we deserved it, and I am really happy about that," he said.

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