Looking at the Barcelona game, I’d put it at 50/50 who’s going to win. It’s one where Liverpool will fancy their chances, and Barca at home will obviously think they can win too.
With the league, it’s taken so many months, and now it’s down to the last two games and nobody knows what’s going to happen. And it’s 29 years since Liverpool won it, so until they win the league again, it’s always going to be there.
If you’re a player or manager now it probably drives you mad because you can only deal with your time there.
If you said to Liverpool supporters which would they rather, I’d said they’d all go for Premier League, because they’ve won the other five times.
And especially this season, where if both sides win their last two games they’ll have a total of 195 points between them. It’s incredible. Liverpool would’ve already won eight of the last ten Premier Leagues with the 91 points they’ve already got!
It’s almost like the pressure is off playing Barcelona. And Klopp would never say it publicly, but I’m pretty sure he would rather win the league.
This game and tie, it’s almost like a free-hit for Liverpool. If they go to Barcelona and they get beaten 2-0 and Messi scores two wonder-goals, we wouldn’t be surprised.
But Liverpool have a chance too because of the front three, they’re always likely to score.
Dembele might be fit for Barcelona, but whether he or Coutinho play, or they play someone more solid just to slow down Liverpool will tell you a lot about how Barcelona are thinking about this tie.
Away goal could decide the tie
It would be the biggest wish you could have as a manager – unless you lose 5-1!
A goal away just changes the whole context of the game at Anfield.
With Barcelona, I don’t think generally they worry who they’re playing against – and I’d Include United in the last round in that – but I think they will be by Liverpool.
They’ll know Liverpool will create chances and they won’t change the way they play. Klopp’s not going to go there and take one of the front three out for an extra midfielder. It’s not in his way to think like that.
He’ll say, “This is our team, this is what we do, you try and beat us.” And teams have gone to Barcelona and got good results – not many – but I think Barcelona are nervous because Liverpool have got goals in them.
He won’t change, Liverpool are probably the best team in Europe on the counter-attack and that in itself is a little bit of a worry for them. And Liverpool won’t stop the fullbacks piling forward. They create so many opportunities on their own.
Some teams seem to go to Barcelona and play with their boots tied because they change so much. What’s the point? It’s a waste of time.
And Liverpool are in really good shape at the moment, they’ve got a squad of players who are really desperate to get in the side. They’ve not got any serious injuries now Oxlade-Chamberlain’s back – at this stage of the season that’s really unusual – but they’re ready and willing.
Liverpool press can disrupt Barca plans
I was impressed by Barcelona against United and they won comfortably, but this is not the same team of five or ten years ago.
They’ve still got the little genius and Suarez, Dembele, Rakitic and those kinds of players, but defensively they’re not as good, and they were never brilliant there anyway. What they were brilliant at was keeping the ball.
That’s what top teams do.
If you look at them and PSG when they went to Old Trafford in the first leg of those ties, they just kept the ball away from Manchester United. Now, I don’t think they’ll be able to do that as easily against Liverpool because of the way they press.
I know they’re walking the league and Madrid have had an absolute nightmare this season – it’s probably been the most uncompetitive La Liga in a long time. Liverpool are used to playing with the pressure on every week the way this season’s been, you do not get an easy game in the Premier League, but in La Liga this season, you do.
And Barca won’t have played against a team like Liverpool in a long, long time in the way they press and always pose a threat.
Even United could’ve been two-nil up with Rashford and McTominay in the Nou Camp and it could’ve been game over.