Jurgen Klopp and Jordan Henderson's press conference - Liverpool vs Roma

Shai Khullar
24th April 2018
LFC News

and previewed Liverpool's semi-final with AS Roma on Monday.

The Reds host the Serie A side in the first leg of two to decide which of the teams will progress to the European final in Kiev next month.

Klopp assessed how the game is likely to play out, what difference the atmosphere could make, 's reunion with his former club, and more.

On Salah winning PFA Players' Player of the Year…

Fantastic. I'm really happy for him. He can be really proud of that, it's a fantastic achievement. I think if all the other players vote for you that means the most to all players. I didn't speak to him afterwards because obviously he was in London yesterday. But he will be back today and then I can tell him what I want to tell him face to face. It's great. But he knows the season is not finished so far. There are a lot of things to come but I'm sure it's a nice boost for him.

And I really have to say, in a season like this when Kevin de Bruyne plays a season like he played, it makes it even more special. If anybody else would have voted, not the players, then I think it's different. But the players know how difficult it is to score that many goals and to be involved in that many goals. So I really think it's well deserved.

On what he hopes from Liverpool fans…

I think that's pretty clear. In the stadium, do it again and better; outside the stadium, please show the respect we have to show. This is such a fantastic football club, an outstanding football family, known for fantastic atmospheres all over the world. If we can do what we did, creating an atmosphere in front of the stadium, let's do it – I'm a big fan of that.

But, please, show the respect they deserve. We are opponents on the pitch, of course, that's the game. Everybody knows how nice and wonderful Rome is, not all the people know how wonderful Liverpool is. But we can show how wonderful the Liverpool people are, and the city and the spirit of the club. We can show that in 20 minutes before the game and then the whole world knows it. All the people who are with LFC deserve that we show that face.

On whether it will be strange for Salah to face Roma…

I think it's pretty normal in football, it happens constantly that players change clubs and managers change clubs. I had it with Dortmund about two years ago. It's actually a normal game but, yes, it feels quite special because you know much more about the other team than you usually know and you are more interested in the other team than you usually are. I'm pretty sure Mo follows the whole season of Roma; he had a fantastic time there, he became the player there which we now have here. Big, big credit to all the staff and players at Roma because they are all part of his development.

Yes, it's strange but in the end we are all professionals. Italian defenders are famous for not having friendly games so I think Mo will feel pretty early in the game that they are not his teammates anymore – and then he can strike back in a football way.

Mohamed Salah

On similarities with Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco and whether he would like to manage in Italy one day…

We both wear glasses and have a bad shave! [We took] a similar way to the big clubs. He started with some smaller clubs and had big success, that's how we had it actually. But style of play, I don't want to talk too much about that. He loves football, that's obvious. He has a football-playing side, build-up and good organisation; I love that too, every manager loves that. Yes, maybe there are a few similarities but that doesn't make life easier for him or me tomorrow, it only means it will be difficult and I knew that before already. I don't think it makes sense for an Italian club to work together with me because I can only order spaghetti in the restaurant and that is not enough to be a manager of an Italian club! I don't think about anything [like that]. I had to talk too often in the last few days or weeks about when I'll stop working. I don't even think about stopping working, [it's] only because people ask me. We will see what happens – que sera, sera! But not in the next four years, for sure.

On the ‘underdog' status of the two clubs…

I do understand that probably a lot of people thought this semi-final would have been usually against . But it's not, because it's football. Roma made it possible and we did as well, that we are now here – and I think both teams deserve it. It's really true: I came up the stairs at Manchester City and somebody told me Roma won 3-0. I thought in the first second, ‘not possible' because the opponent was Barcelona. But I love that game because it is possible. We did something similar at City. They play an outstanding season but in these two games we deserved to . Now we play against each other; maybe our situation is similar in the league. They have and , we have City and United – big challenges and big competitors, of course. But that's not important.


First of all, it's important that we can really enjoy our own football. At the end of the season there's only one team who can win it. But it's a long season and our job is to show the best we can. Even if it's not the best of the league, we still have to show it. And that's what we try constantly. Now we don't play the league, we play the Champions League. We still know we had to win the last game of last season against Middlesbrough; which is not a nice feeling, it's a final. Then we were qualified. We celebrated like we were already qualified but we weren't – we had to play against Hoffenheim, which was quite uncomfortable. We won that as well and we started the journey. Now we are here, exactly the same as Roma. We both have the chance to go to the final and that's all I need, I don't need anything else. People talk about pressure or a ‘once-in-a-lifetime chance', I heard before. It's not like that. If I go to the final, it's the second time in my life – nobody would have thought that. It's possible and that's nice. If it's possible, let's try everything to do it.

I like the way Roma did it. Obviously they brought in quite a good sporting director last year and they again did a fantastic job. Losing Emerson and Mo Salah is really difficult. We lost Phil Coutinho – that's not a hobby, it doesn't feel like fun. It's quite difficult to find players like this, you have them on a specific level and you lose them. We really had a similar situation. But we continued believing in ourselves, and Roma obviously the same. They changed manager, we didn't have to do that at least. He is doing a brilliant job. They have all my respect and if anybody thinks we two are the underdogs, who cares? We are in the semi-final and we can go to the final, that's all I care about.

On whether his view of Roma changed after their win against Barcelona…

No. I watch quite a lot of Italian football, to be honest, it's always really interesting. I saw a few Roma games. I know Edin Dzeko from Germany, I liked him as a player. I like watching him, to be honest. I'm not surprised. I was surprised after the first result that they had that kind of comeback against Barcelona because it's pretty rare. But I love that it's possible. The quality in the team and the quality in the squad, they could make seven or eight changes for the last [league] game and were quite comfortable winning. That's a fact. That's a big advantage for Roma, to be honest. I don't care about advantages; we play at , that's a big advantage as well.

But they have pretty much a full squad available. That's good, and all of them are good. They have different options in offence; of course Dzeko, clear, Schick, Under, El Shaarawy, other players. Nainggolan, De Rossi, experienced. Defence strong, wing-backs strong, Peres. It all looked settled, looked fit and looked experienced. And obviously for Roma it is a big thing the semi-final, like it is for us. We are not used to that. That's good. We don't have experience, that's not good, but we are not used to it – that means you will see the excitement of both teams in a positive way. That's how football should be.

On the role the fans can play at

I don't have to tell people what I want to see because they know it already, they are much more experienced in these moments than we are. They created a few of the most special atmospheres in world football. In the stadium, I don't know exactly if the atmosphere can be better than it was against Manchester City, but if it's possible let's try. These are the very special moments; if you cannot enjoy that moment then something is really wrong with you! For the boys on the pitch it is hard work but it's no problem, we knew that before. But it's much more fun when you do it at Anfield. So I don't have to say anything – I know they will be perfect.

Liverpool 3-0 Manchester City

Image: PA

On what it would mean to reach the Champions League final…

I don't like to talk about things like that before we play it. It would be very special, everybody can imagine – very, very special. But it's nothing to talk about. We have to talk about the game against Roma and not what it would mean if we go through. We have to deserve that, not to talk about it. That's what we try to do with all we have.

Meanwhile, Liverpool captain Henderson addressed the media and discussed a wide range of topics, including the importance of the semi-final both personally and collectively, the newly-crowned PFA Players' Player of the Year Mohamed Salah and his Roma counterpart Daniele De Rossi.

Read on for a transcript of the No.14's press conference...

On who got his vote for PFA award and Salah winning the trophy…

I voted for De Bruyne, obviously. I couldn't vote for Mo. I'm obviously delighted for Mo, I think he deserves it thoroughly. He's been fantastic throughout the season, his records and stats speak for themselves really, and his performances as well. He's been a massive player for us this season and hopefully he can continue that form over the next few week.

On whether Salah can build a legacy at Liverpool and become a legend of the club…

Definitely. He's a fantastic player, obviously he's up there with the world's best and there'll be other clubs that want to maybe take him but I feel as though he's in a great place [with] a great set of lads, a great team [and] a great manager, going in the right direction. We want to create our own history [and] win things here. I think that would be very special and I'm sure Mo will want to be a part of that. He's a big part of it now and I'm sure he will be for many years to come.

On how significant the semi-final is, both individually and for the team…

[It's a] Huge moment, yes, a huge game, a huge two games. But hopefully this is the start of something special for this squad. I feel as though the manager's been brilliant since he came to the club. We've improved every season and we've done so well this season to get to this stage. We've just got to keep going, keep working hard, keep improving and like I say, hopefully this is the start of many huge games to come in the next few years at Liverpool and it would be nice to look back at this one with fond memories of not only the atmosphere, but the result as well.

On how Liverpool have dealt with losing and whether there is now more ‘collective effort' in the team…

I felt as though there was a collective effort when Phil was here. He was another big player for us but I feel as though we've coped well since he's left. The front three have been outstanding, all have chipped in, all have created chances, scoring goals and it's working really well so far, so we've got to continue to play like we always have this season. [We've] kept going, kept improving no matter who we've played. It's a big test for us, a big challenge against a really good side in Roma, but one that I feel we're ready for. We've got to put on the same performance or a similar performance, if not better, than the last round against City in both legs. If we do that then hopefully we can get through to the final.

Phil Coutinho is unveiled as a Barcelona player / Reuters

On how this will differ to the last round against Manchester City…

It'll be a different game obviously because it's a different team, different players, different manager and probably a different way of playing. They'll maybe ask different questions than City did, but we've played a lot of good sides this season in Europe who have asked a lot of questions of us and we've answered them well so far. We've got a little bit more preparation to do later today and then first thing in the morning as well, and look to implement that in the game tomorrow night. They're a strong side so they're going to ask questions, but we just need to be ready and keep doing what we've been doing well - playing at that high intensity, creating chances and scoring goals.

On his respect for Roma captain De Rossi…

Fantastic player and fantastic leader for many years for Roma. He is a huge player and has been around for a long time. He's a very experienced player, so he'll be used to this sort of game, the size of the game, and he'll be looking forward to it I'm sure. But I feel as though we've got experience in the team as well; maybe not as much as him, but I feel as though we're ready to go and challenge. They've got other experienced players in the team, they've got a good balance of players. It's a good challenge for us and one we're looking forward to taking on.

On why European nights bring out the best in Liverpool…

At Anfield, the atmosphere is unbelievable, which gives us a great lift as a team. That's really helped us on big occasions like this so far, so hopefully tomorrow night it will be no different. I'm sure the crowd will be unbelievable, but the performance needs to match it and we need to get a good result. I am sure the atmosphere in Rome will be brilliant as well and it's a tough place to go, so we need to give everything tomorrow night and I am sure the fans will be electric again.

Liverpool FC

Multi-media credit: Paul Lennon

On the impact of Jürgen Klopp on the Reds' squad…

He is one of the best managers in the world. First and foremost, football and tactically, it goes without question how knowledgeable he is within the game. You can see that in the performances, style of play and how we play football. But the other side, off the field, he's a fantastic human, very genuine and has great passion for football. I think that transcends throughout the team; you can see that in the we are playing and the way are team play. He is a fantastic manager, he always keeps you on your toes, he always looks for more, keeps pushing you to improve, never wants the standards to drop and always wants you to maintain those high standards no matter who we're playing. He is an amazing manager and everybody in the squad feels privileged to be working with him. I feel I have improved a lot since he came to this football club - and hopefully I can improve a lot more over the next few years.

On the magnitude of the semi-final…

Playing in the semi-final of the Champions League at Anfield is a huge occasion, not only for me but for many of the players. It's what you dream about, playing against the best teams in Europe and Roma are certainly that. It'll be a fantastic night, a huge night, but you've got to keep your focus on what's important. The important thing is you've got to do your job to the best of your ability, keep doing the right things and give everything in the game. When you look back at the game, you want to remember it for the right reasons – I know the atmosphere will be amazing, but you want to look back having put on a fantastic performance for the team and also having got the result as well.

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