In his column in The Telegraph, Jamie Carragher has boldly suggested “the Champions League is the most realistic chance of ending the season with a trophy” for the Reds.
It’s bold, we know, but he has said it with the caveat that the Champions League is the trophy that matters most for every team in Europe – it is only because the domestic title has eluded us for so long that we crave it so much, he suggests.
The title race will go down to the wire, but it we’re still having to rely on Manchester City dropping points for it to go our way.
In that context, Carra has claimed “It is nonsense to suggest Europe would be a second prize.
“There are two competitions that secure international recognition – the World Cup and Champions League. It is only because Liverpool have waited so long for the league title that the Champions League has appeared to play a supporting role this year.
“Jurgen Klopp has never seen it this way, which is why he was dismissive of the idea Europe could be sacrificed for the title pursuit,” he explained.
“This is the perfect opportunity to go a step further than last season. Tottenham and Ajax have been outstanding, yet they will be the first to admit underdog status should they reach the final to face Liverpool or Barcelona.”
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) May 1, 2019
The Liverpool legend is right. If we make it to the final, the odds are likely to be stacked in our favour against either of the other semi-finalists.
That is the measure of our development under Jürgen Klopp, which Carra echoed: “The greatest tribute you can offer Klopp’s side going into the Nou Camp is it is a 50-50 game.
“That is some compliment given the attacking talent in the Barcelona team, not least the greatest player of all time in Lionel Messi.
“Barca never change the way they play – their fans will not tolerate it – which is what makes this game so enthralling. Liverpool can expect more counter-attacking opportunities over these two legs than they might have enjoyed in the rest of the competition combined.
We’ll need repeat performances of the second leg away games we’ve played against Bayern Munich and Porto in the Champions League so far.
Yes, we need to safeguard against Barça’s obvious attacking threat, but we have to stride out on the field and go mano a mano with them.
Carra seems to agree: “Klopp sees the game differently, and his players will be going there to express themselves in the final third and show that even if Barcelona possess the greatest player, Liverpool can be as exciting as a unit.”
“It could be one of the classic European matches.”