Jurgen Klopp has insisted Liverpool are ready to end Lionel Messi’s Champions League mission by beating Barcelona in the semi-finals.
Messi has been rested for Barca’s last two league games and appears more motivated than ever in Europe, after pledging to “bring that beautiful cup back to Camp Nou” at the start of the season.
But Klopp has warned his players not to focus only on the Argentinean.
“It’s not only about Messi but of course it’s about him as well,” Klopp said at a press conference on Tuesday.
Barcelona play Liverpool four days after celebrating winning La Liga on Saturday, and with a Copa del Rey final to come next month against Valencia. It means a treble is in their sights.
Liverpool hope to have their own striker back in time for the first leg, after Roberto Firmino trained after recovering from a muscle strain.
“If he is 100 per cent ready to play he will maybe play,” Klopp said. “He is here. Tomorrow we have another session.”
Messi is likely to be flanked by two former Liverpool players, with Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho expected to start in an attacking three.
But while Suarez has flourished in Spain, Coutinho has struggled to find his feet since joining Barca for 120 million Euros in January last year.
Barcelona has not lost at home in the Champions League since 2013 while the last English opponent to beat them on their own turf was Liverpool in 2007.