Jurgen Klopp Thanks God that he’s got Time for Lionel Messi Preparations

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The UEFA Champions League final four is now set with Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona the team to beat. On April 30, the two remaining teams with the most favorable odds will meet in the first leg of their semifinal tie at the Camp Nou. The return leg at Anfield is May 7.

Of the four semifinalists, Liverpool are the only side to have advanced to this round in back-to-back years. Lionel Messi is by far the best individual player remaining in the competition. He’ll be gunning for his fifth UCL championship medal, and Reds manager Jurgen Klopp is charged with the task of trying to stop the Argentine galactico.

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It’s chance for Klopp to live to his hype as a manager and tactician.

The German is very grateful that he has close to a fortnight to prepare for the challenge.

“Thank God I don’t have to think about that tonight and thank God I have a few more nights to think about it!” Klopp told the official club website.

“I think everybody tried it so far and nobody can really do it. We still will try it. But we are looking forward to it, but we have so many jobs to do before we meet Barcelona. So let’s first play these games and then let’s prepare for Barcelona. Then we will see.”

“I have never played Barcelona in a proper game, so [it’s] my first time there and I’m looking forward to it.”

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Barcelona are heavily favored to win it all, now that Manchester City has shockingly been ousted. Liverpool are moderate long shots while Tottenham Hotspur, and then Ajax face pretty long odds.

Liverpool and Barcelona are meeting for the first time since the 2006-07 UCL knockout round, when Messi was just 19 years old. LFC advanced to the final last season, where they fell to Real Madrid.

The Merseyside club is still looking for its first trophy under Klopp.

“The boys made their own experience in this competition, especially last year,” Klopp added.

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“It’s the second time in a row we are in the semis. That says something, it’s a big statement for the club. OK we play Barca, maybe it’s not too easy,” the German said playfully.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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