- Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool better than I expected without Philippe Coutinho12:05 | 01/05/2019
Jurgen Klopp admits he did not expect Liverpool to cope as well as they have without Philippe Coutinho.
Coutinho spent five years with Liverpool, making 201 appearances and scoring 54 goals
The Brazil international departed Anfield for Barcelona in January 2018 in a £146m move, having handed in a transfer request the previous summer following three failed bids from the Spanish champions.
Coutinho faces his former side for the first time on Tuesday when Liverpool travel to the Nou Camp for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final, and Klopp says his move worked out well for both parties.
“Yes we miss Coutinho, a lot, because he is a world-class player and I loved working with him,” said Klopp.
“But we had to deal without him and we really did well.
“When I first heard he wanted to go to Barcelona, I didn’t imagine we could be that good [without him]. But we did, it was all good for both sides.”
Liverpool will move a step closer to a second successive Champions League final with a positive result at the Nou Camp, and Klopp would take a draw against a side that has not lost at home in Europe for six years.
Big games are coming thick and fast for Liverpool, whose attention will quickly return to the Premier League title race after the final whistle at the Nou Camp – and Saturday’s trip to Newcastle.
It is a hectic end to the season, but Klopp says his players are enjoying the thrill of the chase as they compete for two trophies.
“It’s brilliant,” said the German. “The only thing that would be better is if someone told us we were already champions. In other years it could have been like this.
“But it’s not a problem. We’re completely fine. We like the situation – the boys created that.
“It’s a wonderful situation, flying here to Barcelona. Two years ago it was a big thing for the club to qualify for the Champions League. Now we’ve reached the semi-finals for the second year in a row.
“It’s only positive and everybody sees it like that. We don’t need a guarantee. You can’t come here and think, ‘it’s only Barcelona, we’ll play the game and then go home and concentrate on Newcastle’. That would be nice but it’s not possible. The competition is too big.
“It would be a massive mistake to play against Barcelona with 15 or 20 per cent Newcastle on your mind. It doesn’t work. You’d get a proper knock and we want to avoid that.”Source – Sky Sports
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