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Klopp pumped for Liverpool's 'proper football' showdown with Barca

China Daily | Updated: 2019-04-19 09:38
FC Porto's Eder Militao in action with Liverpool's Divock Origi in Porto, Portugal, April 17, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

PORTO, Portugal - Jurgen Klopp said he cannot wait to lead Liverpool into a Champions League semifinal against Barcelona after watching his side crush Porto 4-1 in Portugal on Wednesday to complete a 6-1 aggregate victory in their last-eight tie.

On a wet night at Estadio do Dragao, Liverpool weathered an early storm before scoring from its first attempt just before the half-hour, with Sadio Mane prodding home for a goal given after a lengthy VAR review.

Already in control of this tie after a 2-0 win at Anfield in the first leg, Liverpool effectively killed off Porto there and then, but Mo Salah, substitute Roberto Firmino and Virgil van Dijk added further goals after the break.

Eder Militao scored a consolation for the host 21 minutes from time, but this was another miserable night after it lost 5-0 to the same opponents on this ground a year ago.

Liverpool now marches on to a clash with Lionel Messi's Barca, the first meeting of the clubs since a last-16 encounter in 2006-07 that the Reds won on away goals.

"I'm looking forward to it. The news that there is a proper football game between Barcelona and Liverpool is great," Klopp said, as his side moves a step closer to matching its run to the final a year ago.

"To be in the semifinals for the second year running is a big statement. I am really proud of the boys for what they did."

On the night Manchester City's quadruple bid died, the dream of a Champions League and Premier League double remains alive for Liverpool and its supporters, whose spirits were not dampened by the dreary weather on the banks of the River Douro.

This was its 17th game without defeat and its eighth straight victory, although Barcelona will offer a far tougher test than Porto.

The first leg of that tie is in two weeks, and in the meantime Liverpool will revert its focus to domestic matters, with games against Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town up next.

"Tonight we are in the semifinals and we play on Sunday against Cardiff. That will be 100 percent on my mind when I wake up tomorrow and not Barcelona," insisted Klopp.

With the matches coming thick and fast, he made three changes to his lineup here following Sunday's 2-0 win over Chelsea.

Firmino and Naby Keita, who both scored in the first leg, were dropped, along with Jordan Henderson.

They were replaced by Georginio Wijnaldum, James Milner and Divock Origi, with the latter making his first CL start for the club. However, the Belgian only played the first half before making way for Firmino.

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