Jurgen Klopp urges Liverpool to 'celebrate' whatever the outcome against Barcelona

Premier League side trail their Uefa Champions League semi-final 3-0 and their hopes of overturning the deficit took a major blow when Mohamed Salah was ruled out

epa07550680 Liverpool's manager Juergen Klopp smiles during a press conference at Anfield in Liverpool, Britain, 06 May 2019. Liverpool FC will face FC Barcelona in their UEFA Champions League semi final, second leg soccer match on 07 May 2019.  EPA/PETER POWELL
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Jurgen Klopp told Liverpool that if they are going to exit the Uefa Champions League they should “fail in the most beautiful way” as they prepare to face Barcelona without the injured Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.

Barcelona have a 3-0 first leg lead and Klopp admitted his side only have a small chance of reaching a second successive European Cup final but urged his players and the Liverpool fans to make Tuesday night’s game a celebration of a superb season.

Firmino is out with the muscular injury that meant he was only a substitute in the Camp Nou while Salah suffered concussion in a collision with Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka on Saturday.

“Two of the world’s best strikers are not available and we have to score four goals to go through in 90 minutes," Klopp said. "It doesn’t make life easier but as long as we have 11 players on the pitch, we will try. The boys showed often enough that they don’t give up. They will show it.

“That is the plan: just try and if we can do [something] wonderful and if not, fail in the most beautiful way. With a close result, so close.”

Liverpool, who are unbeaten at Anfield in both the Premier League and the Champions League this season, also host Wolves on Sunday, knowing that two valiant efforts may be in vain, but with Klopp imploring everyone to produce a party atmosphere to mark their achievements.

“It is a long season and there is at least a little chance to make it even longer,” the German added. “If not, these are the last two home games of an incredible season, and I think we should celebrate that with a good performance on the pitch and a very, very good performance in the stands.

“It should be a football party. We should celebrate with football. It is possible it will be the last Champions League game of the campaign so let’s celebrate it, with our legs, with our lungs, with good football, with good decisions, sensational atmosphere and see what happens. I would imagine the place will be rocking before we score already.”

Lionel Messi scored twice in the Camp Nou, even though Liverpool kept him quiet for much of the game, and Klopp said the key to stopping him would be “to delete the word ‘almost’. That’s the plan.

"You have to be perfect to beat them, and we should try that. If we do not concede it means we have to be really good in defending. And we have to score, so we have to be really creative offensively.”

Right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold told Liverpool not to be afraid of Barcelona’s galaxy of stars.

“It is a slim possibility but the possibility is still there,” he said. “We have got to go out there and be fearless. The only way to get the result is to not hold back. We know it is going to be really hard, not a walk in the park, but we have the belief anything is possible.”

Without Salah and Firmino, who have scored 42 goals between them this season, Divock Origi, Daniel Sturridge and Xherdan Shaqiri are potential stand-ins with Alexander-Arnold telling them they could write their names in Anfield history if they strike in a famous comeback.

He added: “We have got two of our main goalscorers out but it also presents an opportunity for others to make themselves heroes. If we do overturn the deficit, whoever scores, their name will always be remembered because it will be a really special night.”