Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has urged supporters heading to Anfield on Tuesday night to go one better than the atmosphere generated during the previous round against Manchester City, but to remain respectful to Roma fans and players.
Prior to the quarter-final match with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, a minority of Liverpool fans threw beer bottles at the team coach, prompting Klopp to speak out in advance of this tie.
Liverpool apologised profusely to Manchester City on the evening of the incident and are keen not to have any repeat.
The German said: “This is an outstanding club known for its fantastic atmosphere – we don’t need to throw things. In the stadium do it again and better. Outside the stadium, please show the respect we have to show.”
European nights at Anfield are to be savoured, and Klopp knows how important that could be in motivating his players and getting them over the line.
He said: “I don’t have to tell them what I want to see – they know that already. They create one of the most special atmospheres in world football.
“I don’t know if they can create a better atmosphere than Manchester City, but if they can, let’s try. I know they will be perfect – these are the very special moments.”
Merseyside Police are still investigating the events that took place before Liverpool played Manchester City, with no arrests made on the night.
Klopp added: “We can show how wonderful Liverpool people are and we can show it in 20 minutes before the game and then the whole world knows it.”
Mobile CCTV and trained police dogs will be used before Tuesday’s match in an attempt to prevent pyrotechnics and flares being used.
On the game itself, Klopp was asked at his media briefing about Mo Salah, who won the PFA Player of the Year award last night and faces his former club for the first time.
He said: “I am pretty sure Italian defenders are not famous for having friendly games. Mo will feel pretty early on that are not his teammates anymore, then he can strike back himself.”
Salah is set to be a key man as he looks to send Liverpool to Kiev to play either Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.
The Roma team will be well aware of his talents, but stopping him is easier said than done regardless.
Battle of the underdogs
Klopp was also full of praise for his opponents, who, like Liverpool, were not fancied by many to progress this far, especially having been drawn in a tough group with Chelsea and Atletico Madrid, and then having to face Barcelona.
He said: “I am not interested in what people think about the semi-finals and I guess a lot of people thought it would be Barcelona v Manchester City. Both teams deserve to be here.
“Someone told me Roma had beaten Barcelona 3-0 and I thought it was not possible. Maybe our situations are similar but we both have big challenges and big competition in our leagues. It is our job to show our best.”
Liverpool are slight favourites to progress in this tie, and are joint-favourites to win the whole competition.
Klopp insisted he was aware of Roma’s quality, and that he has not been surprised by their performances this season, despite selling Salah to Liverpool in the summer.
Klopp said: “I watch a lot of Italian football to be honest. I know Edin Dzeko from Germany and I am not surprised by Roma.
“The quality in their team and squad is a lot.”
He also made a point of acknowledging their squad depth, adding: “They have a full squad available and all of them are good. They have clear options up front and in midfield; they all look settled, fit and experienced. For them, like us, semi-finals are a big thing.”
Klopp is anticipating a game fitting for such an occasion.
He said: “You will see the excitement of both teams, in a positive way, because we are not used to it [Champions League semi-finals].
“That's good for football. We both have the chance to get to the final and that is pressure, but it is possible and that is nice.”
The first leg will take place at Anfield on Tuesday, with the second leg in Rome a week on Wednesday, by which time the other semi-final will have been decided, with either Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid or Jupp Heynckes’ Bayern awaiting the victors.