Liverpool vs AS Roma - Jurgen Klopp vows not to heap pressure on his players

Posted Tuesday, April 24, 2018 by PA

Liverpool vs AS Roma - Jurgen Klopp vows not to heap pressure on his players

Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool’s chance to reach a Champions League final should not be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The Reds face Roma in their first semi-final in Europe’s elite club competition for a decade but their manager stressed he will not be building it up to be all-or-nothing for his players.

Klopp said: “I make the pressure higher? I tell them it’s the only chance you ever have in your life so use it. Would you love to hear that before a game?

“(It’s) not a once-in-the-lifetime chance. I am already for the second time in the semi-finals and if I go, I will be the second time in the final. That’s pretty rare.”

The two clubs have significant history, with Liverpool having beaten the Serie A club at their own Stadio Olimpico ground in the 1984 European Cup final.

Their most recent meeting, back in 2002, saw the Merseysiders progress to the quarter-finals of the competition.

Prior to that the Reds were also victorious in the knockout stages of the 2001 UEFA Cup, on their way to winning the trophy, but Klopp admits that will not have any bearing on this tie.

“When was the final – ’84? Most of the players were not born then. Was Milly (James Milner)? Maybe Milly, I am not sure,” added Klopp. “Maybe he just looks older (Milner was actually born in 1986).

“I really like it but these things happened as the stories of those boys. I love that we go to Rome, a fantastic city and a beautiful stadium, the Stadio Olimpico.

“If it helps we will use it but I think the boys need real things, not the good old stories – even though they were brilliant. We only talk about it because we hope it helps. The spirit of Rome.”

Klopp will recall all his big names for Tuesday’s first leg at Anfield after making five changes for Saturday’s 2-2 draw with West Brom, meaning a return for the likes of Roberto Firmino and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The semi-final will see Liverpool star Mohamed Salah came up against the side he joined the Reds from last summer.

Roma will therefore know better than most the threat posed by the newly-crowned PFA Player of the Year, but their defender Aleksandar Kolarov insists the Serie A giants cannot focus all their efforts on just stopping the Egypt international.

The former Manchester City full-back said Roma did not get distracted by stopping Lionel Messi in their stunning quarter-final triumph over Barcelona and nor would they by the in-form Salah.

“Against Barcelona we played as a team, we did not focus on Messi and by playing in this way we can achieve great things,” he said.

“It is not about stopping one player. Liverpool are not only Salah, they have a number of good players.”

Kolarov returns to Eusebio Di Francesco’s squad after missing the weekend trip to SPAL, but Jonathan Silva – who made his debut in the 3-0 win – and Bogdan Lobont are both ineligible for the Champions League and sit the game out.

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