Should Liverpool dream of a comeback against Barcelona?
The Champions League does have a penchant for the dramatic. Pumped with adrenaline, bouncy stadiums and electric atmospheres, time and again the comebacks happened. The later the deciding goal was scored the better. There was the Neymar-inspired Barcelona in 2017, the Wild Roma comeback in 2018, and Manchester United’s tribute to the Fergie days against PSG this season. Liverpool’s 3-0 loss in the first leg at Camp Nou might have just set them up to become urban legends.
Or is it an illogical and improbable dream?
Admittedly, it’s fairly difficult to tell Klopp with a straight face that his dream of a comeback is valid. He is three goals and two superstars short heading into the second leg of the Champions League.
But Klopp has said he has enough to believe. In the press conference before the match against Barcelona, the German cited his time at Dortmund when they faced Real Madrid and almost turned around a 3-0 deficit from the first leg. Several of his players were injured but his side went very close to overturning Madrid’s lead.
“The situation with the 3-0 is obviously not the situation we want to have before the second leg. Two of the world’s best strikers are not available for tomorrow and we have to score four goals to go through,” Klopp said.
In actual fact, they need to score four goals while keeping a clean sheet to qualify. Klopp needs his defence to shut out the Barcelona team that scored three goals a week ago.
The reassessment of the task with the consideration that Lionel Messi is a part of that attack inserts doubts in whatever belief that may have been conjured.
“You have to be perfect to beat them. It’s possible that this will be the last Champions League game of the campaign, so let’s celebrate it,” said Klopp, au fait with the enormity of the task before them.
The Kop will definitely be with the team every step of the way making the Anfield as intimidating as possible, however, Daniel Sturridge in attack while pursuing four goals doesn’t inspire much confidence.
“If we can do it, wonderful, and if not then fail in the most beautiful way, if you want, with a close result.”
“I think we should celebrate that with a good performance on the pitch and a very good performance in the stands. That would be really nice.”
Klopp’s dream has an exit strategy, he says there is hope and they are far away from giving up but he also knows failure is more realistic. And he is calling for the most garlanded failure Anfield has seen. That dream is valid.
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