Jurgen Klopp’s explanation of his team-talk before the second-leg against Barcelona last season has surfaced again today.
The German masterminded a 4-0 Anfield victory, after Liverpool were defeated 3-0 in the first-leg at Camp Nou – mostly against the run of play.
Lionel Messi’s brilliance saw the Catalan giants take what most thought would be an unassailable lead back to Merseyside. The Argentine great curled in a stunning free-kick and the scoreline could have actually been worse if Ousmane Dembele finished us off in the final moments.
But when the game kicked off at Anfield, it was clear something special was in the air. Divock Origi gave us an early lead, before a Gini Wijnaldum brace and another by the Belgian striker clinched the turnaround.
“When we were preparing for the second leg, my team-talk was very straightforward. There was no Rocky this time,” Klopp said, cited by the official website.
“Mostly, I talked about tactics. But I also told them the truth. I said, ‘We have to play without two of the best strikers in the world. The world outside is saying it is not possible. And let’s be honest, it’s probably impossible. But because it’s you? Because it’s you, we have a chance.’
“I really believed that. It wasn’t about their technical ability as footballers. It was about who they were as human beings and everything they had overcome in life. The only thing that I added was, ‘If we fail, then let’s fail in the most beautiful way.’”
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The result against Barca was all the more pleasing because they had our former players Coutinho and Luis Suarez in their ranks.
Both had previously demanded an exit in order to win things – and Suarez’s behaviour in the game was abysmal – trying to get Andy Robertson sent off, celebrating in his face in the first-leg and everything in between.
So for Liverpool to beat them, with Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino in the stands due to injury, was simply incredible.
Obviously, Liverpool went on to clinch our sixth European Cup with victory over Tottenham in Madrid’s Final.
The 2-0 scoreline wasn’t as comfortable as it might suggest, but from the start of the second-leg v Barca, we scored six goals without reply against two of Europe’s best teams.