Liverpool manager,Jurgen Klopp was known in Germany for fear Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona were going to turn each Champions League campaign into a procession when he said: ‘I would rather take up tennis,’
But on Tuesday,when he was asked to explain what he meant response was that Guardiola’s Barca had been so far ahead of everybody else that he could only fantasise about devising a way to beat them.
Klopp will on Wednesday face a Barcelona team recently crowned the champions of Spain for the 26th time at Nou Camp with Lionel Messi and two former Liverpool players, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho at the opposite end.
But this is a Barcelona team with an asterisk against them simply because they are not the team of yore. They are not Guardiola’s team. They have limitations, however marginal.
They can be beaten if Liverpool produce performances of which they are capable.
Klopp when reminded of the tennis quote said with a laugh;
”I knew that comment would fly around my ear one day,’
”What I wanted to say was that what I most like is when both teams have the same chance. For me, when Pep was here they were so much better than the others, it wasn’t a competition.
”I like the chance to use tactics to make it an exciting game and to try to make it even. That’s what I still think.
”We won’t be perfect tomorrow (Wednesday), we will make mistakes. We will suffer, 100 per cent.
”I know people made out that we became better in the last couple of years and Barcelona are not the same without Xavi or Iniesta.
‘But we have been here for two years, they have been here for 20 years.
”It will be so difficult, but I couldn’t be more excited to play,he added.