Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is often so intensely focused on his own tasks that when big news sometimes hits him, he doesn’t believe it. When the Reds boss first heard about Brexit in June 2016, he thought that Britain exiting Europe meant that the England national team had been eliminated from the European championships.
And today, when AS Roma upset Barcelona in the Champions League quarterfinals, and did so in a fashion that sent them through to the semis on away goals, Klopp thought the person informing him was joking.
It was a massive upset, as AS Roma have reached the semifinals for the first time in club history, and in doing so became just the third team in UCL history to overcome a three goal deficit.
“I walked up the stairs and somebody told me; I really thought it was a joke,” Klopp said.
“Not that I don’t respect Roma, the absolute opposite. They have a fantastic team: Edin Dzeko, wow. They lost Mo Salah and they are in the semis, that’s quite a big thing.”
“I cannot say anything about the game, I didn’t expect it before the game but I knew it was possible.
“This competition is quite fair and I really think a normal final would have been Manchester City against Barcelona, and now they are both out, but there will still be two other really strong teams in there plus Roma and us. We will see what happens but that’s not the thing I have to think about tonight.”
Barcelona had emerged as the clear favorite to take the competition, as their form, both domestically and in Europe had been very impressive. Also, they came to the eternal city with a 4-1 lead, so the odds were very much in their favor. Roma’s 3-0 triumph today, and with it their moving on to the next round is a truly fantastic story.
What would make another great story? A draw which allows Salah, the leading PFA Player of the Year candidate, to face the team that he left last summer.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.
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