Valverde wary of 'powerful' Liverpool ahead of Champions League semis

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde expects a tough but attractive Champions League semi-final against the Premier League outfit

Ernesto Valverde has said he is wary of the “very powerful” Liverpool frontline ahead of Barcelona’s Champions League semi-final against the Premier League giants.

The reigning Spanish champions will meet Jurgen Klopp’s men in the last four next month, with the first leg to be played at Camp Nou on May, 1.

Barca are in control of La Liga’s title race, while Liverpool are fighting for the Premier League crown and were runners-up in Europe’s top club competition last season.

Valverde said Barca would be tested when the two cross swords in a few weeks, particularly by the front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

“Liverpool are a very powerful opponent. Offensive players have been showing their potential in the last two years,” he told a news conference on Friday.

“Last year they reached the final. This time they’re having a great tournament. They are also fighting in the Premier League.

“It’s a very attractive game for them, for us and for the public. It will be very hard, for them and for us.

“The final is just there and we’ll give our best to reach it.”

The winners will meet either Tottenham or Ajax in the final at the Wanda Metropolitano on June, 1.

Between Barca and Liverpool, the two European powerhouses have won 10 Champions Leagues/European Cups, with only Real Madrid and AC Milan winning the jug-eared trophy on more occasions.

Overall, the sides have met four times in the Champions League, with Liverpool eliminating the Catalan side over two legs in their last encounter, a last-16 tie in 2007.

The Reds also have an enviable record at the Nou Camp, and have never lost there in four previous visits. On the other hand, Barcelona have won their two previous trips to Anfield.

In the meantime, the pair will be focusing on their respective league campaigns. Barca can take another step towards securing the title when they host Real Sociedad on Saturday, with Valverde’s men nine points clear with six games to play.

As for Liverpool, they travel to Wales on Sunday to take on relegation-threatened Cardiff City. Jurgen Klopp’s side could have the opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the table, depending on Manchester City’s game against Tottenham on Saturday afternoon.

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