Klopp echoes famed Barcelona speech ahead of Atalanta challenge

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he would echo his speech before the team’s barnstorming fightback against Barcelona in the 2019 Champions League as they look to produce similar heroics at Atalanta on Thursday.

Klopp’s side suffered a resounding 3-0 home loss in the first leg of their Europa League quarterfinal and travel to Italy with a mountain to climb.

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Liverpool also trailed Barcelona by a 3-0 scoreline in the Champions League semifinal five years ago, before a famous 4-0 victory in the return fixture at Anfield en route to winning Europe’s top competition.

“I will think about the speech tomorrow. I remember saying if we fail, let’s fail in the most beautiful way and I’ll say that again,” he said at a news conference Wednesday.

“A lot of supporters thought that was it after the [first] leg but now less people think it is decided. We are here, let’s see.”

However, Klopp was quick to note that the comeback against Barcelona came with the noisy backing of a vociferous home crowd, while Thursday’s atmosphere will be very different.

“The result is similar definitely. The performance not really,” the German coach, who will leave Liverpool at the end of this season, said.

“We lost 3-0 in Barcelona and people didn’t know how, now we lost 3-0 at home and are away, it’s a massive difference. We are here and will try to win the game, that’s all. That’s what we should do.

“[Last week] we had really good moments but they completely deserved to win. Let’s start with a much better performance and try to win the game and we will see how much time is left at the end.”

The Liverpool boss does have experience of losing at home to Atalanta and winning by a big margin away after the sides met in the 2020 Champions League group stage, when his team beat the Italians 5-0 in their own stadium before suffering a 2-0 home defeat weeks later.

“We played four years ago against Atalanta,” Klopp said. “Tomorrow the game is more difficult as they don’t have to score at all. Not sure what they’re going to do. It’s not easy when you’re 3-0 up.

“We won 5-0 here, we lost 2-0 in the home game. We will see who deals better with the situation. If Atalanta go through then they deserve it, if not then something special has happened.”

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.