LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom, Apr 23 – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp warned the club’s fans not to repeat the scenes that saw windows of Manchester City’s team bus smashed by thrown cans and bottles ahead of their Champions League semi-final, first leg against Roma at Anfield on Tuesday.
City became just the latest victims of a famous European night at Anfield on the pitch three weeks ago as Liverpool raced into a 3-0 first leg lead that laid the foundations for their 5-1 aggregate victory over the English champions in the quarter-finals.
However, Klopp wants to retain the passion inside the stadium without the ugly scenes outside, which are the subject of a UEFA investigation.
“In the stadium do it again and better. Outside the stadium, please show the respect we have to show,” said Klopp on Monday.
“This is such an outstanding football club, an outstanding football family, known for fantastic atmospheres all over the world, so we don’t need to throw whatever at the bus of the opposing team.”
The Italians will be greeted by at least one familiar face in Mohamed Salah, but it is the Egyptian who poses the biggest threat to their dream of returning to the final for the first time since they lost to Liverpool on home soil in 1984.
Salah made the move from the Italian capital to Anfield just 10 months ago, and has surpassed all expectations since with an incredible 41 goals in 46 Liverpool appearances to already net more times than he did in two years for Roma.
The 25-year-old was rewarded for his brilliant campaign by winning the Premier League’s Players’ Player of the Year award on Sunday evening, beating off stiff competition from Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne to the prize.
“I’m really happy for him, really proud of that, it is a fantastic achievement. I think if all the other players vote for you it means most to all players,” added Klopp.
“In a season like this, when Kevin De Bruyne played a season like he did, it made it even more special.”
– Start of something special-
Despite their rich heritage in the competition as five-time winners, Liverpool haven’t been in the last four of the Champions League for a decade.
And captain Jordan Henderson believes this season’s run to the semis can be the start of something special under Klopp.
“Hopefully this is the start of something special with this squad,” said the England international.
“The manager has been brilliant since he has come to the club. We’ve improved every season and done brilliant this season to get this stage.”
However, even Klopp’s men’s 5-1 thrashing of Premier League champions City over two legs in the last eight was upstaged by Roma coming from 4-1 down in the first leg of their quarter-final with Barcelona to progress on away goals thanks to a famous 3-0 second-leg win.
Klopp admitted he thought it was a joke when he was first informed of Roma’s result against Barca, but insists both sides should believe they can be European champions despite the presence of powerhouses Bayern Munich and 12-time winners Real Madrid in the other semi-final.
“If anyone thinks we two are the underdogs, who cares? We are in the semi-final and can go to the final.”
However, Roma coach Eusebio di Francesco warned that the pace of Liverpool’s prolific front three of Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino — who have combined for 83 goals this season — offers a very different threat to Barca’s Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
“We are facing a different rival from Barcelona and we need to be ready for that different challenge,” said Di Francesco.
“We have to play our football, impose our style and make the most of Liverpool’s weaknesses.
“We showed in the last league game we have progressed in our mentality and we need to show that again.”