Valverde: Barca not obliged to win Champions League, but it is a dream

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-01 08:38:00|Editor: Liu
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MADRID, April 30 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde on Tuesday highlighted the need for his team to maintain their concentration when they take on Liverpool in the first leg of their Champions League semifinal tie at the Camp Nou Stadium.

It is shaping up to be a classic night of European football in Barcelona, between two of the most famous teams in the world.

Liverpool are chasing the Premier League title, while last Saturday saw Barca crowned Liga Santander Champions for the second year running and the eighth time in the last 11 seasons.

"I don't know if we are the teams that is in the best form," said Valverde, although he concede Barca are "champions of our league,"

Liverpool have beaten Porto and Bayern Munich in the knockout stages of the Champions League and the Barca coach admitted they would be "a very difficult opponent to beat."

He explained that Liverpool were "recognizable in style, game and players," to the team that lost last season's final to Real Madrid and that would "give them experience."

"They have a set way of playing that sees them look to try and get the ball quickly to their strikers. They look to pressure high up the pitch and they will look to rob possession from us. If we give them space, they can hurt us," assured Valverde.

"I see a fearsome opponent for many reasons," he said, before insisting Barca had to try to make their home advantage count in the first leg.

"We are at home, we want to win, and we know the value of keeping a clean sheet. It's not enough just to play well, we have to be focused because Liverpool are dangerous on the break and work hard. We must think the same," he said.

Last season saw Valverde criticized after Barca lost in the quarter-finals to Roma, but he rejected that this was the most important game of his career. "It's also hard when you are playing to avoid relegation and I know a few coaches who'd swap places with me," he commented, adding it was not an "obligation" to win the Champions League, but "a dream."