Ernesto Valverde Insists Barcelona Cannot Afford to Underestimate In-Form Liverpool

?Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has admitted that Liverpool will present a huge challenge for his team in their Champions League semi-final clash on Wednesday.

Having already been crowned La Liga champions, the Blaugrana will turn their attention to Wednesday’s game at the Camp Nou, hoping to gain a crucial advantage ahead of the return fixture at Anfield.

?Speaking ahead of the game, Valverde confessed that ?Liverpool are certainly good enough to cause problems for his ?Barcelona side.

He said: “[Jurgen] Klopp is doing what he did at ?Borussia Dortmund. They’ve only lost one game in the ?Premier League this season, and that says everything about their strength. You need to play two good games. If you don’t play well for five minutes then Liverpool can crowd you around your goal.

“It’s a recognisable team. If you see the first eleven from final to tomorrow, there’s been a change in goal and maybe [Naby] ?Keita, but it’s pretty much the same team. That they have played the final gives them extra experience.”

Unlike Barcelona, Liverpool remain in the midst of a title race and cannot afford to focus solely on one competition. However, Valverde insisted that that could prove to be an advantage for the Premier League side.

“Having to play in the league keeps you at a high competitive tone. There’s always a game between the two legs. We’re happy to have won the league already, maybe Liverpool can’t rest players.

“But it’s a ?Champions League semi-final – tiredness isn’t a factor here.”

Valverde went on to call upon fans to try rival the famous Anfield atmosphere, to try and give the Blaugrana any possible advantage.

The Nou Camp fans have been decisive in the last few weeks, we’ve seen quite a few games with over 90,000 fans. We feel it and our rivals feel it, so we want them to feel it.”


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