Ernesto Valverde faced the press on Monday ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Liverpool at Anfield.
The Barcelona boss talked about how his team must approach the game as a final, the injuries to Ousmane Dembele and Mohamed Salah and also had praise for Arturo Vidal.
Here are the best bits:
Valverde on Dembele
We were able to rest some players to avoid injuries. But we had Dembele injured and they have Salah out. They are important players. Every coach is worried about his absences. We don’t want to see any player injured. It would have been spectacular to have everyone available. We don’t know the influence he could have, but Dembele missing is a problem because when you have a team that concedes spaces, it’s important to have players who can break. About their absences, only their coach can say.
Valverde on first leg result
Despite what happened in the first game, we have to think what will happen here. If we think about the result we had last week it would be an error. We have to play it as if it was a final. The stadium will push them on and their fans will be willing them on.
Valverde on Liverpool
They have fast players. Sometimes you are put in situations that are uncomfortable. We want to have the feeling that we’re in control. They’re going to attack us. There’s no doubt about that.
They could beat us. They’ve lost one game this season in the Premier League, which came away from home. We’re playing against an opponent with a fantastic strategy. Seeing the ground tomorrow, I don’t think we’ll be relaxing at all
Valverde on comebacks
I don’t fear a comeback. The matches are there to be played. In the Barça-PSG tie, everyone thought that if PSG scored away from home that they would be through, but Barcelona scored six. That’s why the game is important from the first minute.
Experiences are great because you learn from them. Last year we got a bad result but the fantastic thing about football is that it gives you another opportunity. We’re mentally prepared for tomorrow.
Valverde on Arturo Vidal
Arturo Vidal has played well. He’s a player who brings something different for us. We know he’s strong physically, and if they have a chance that will help us