Liverpool have to defend in packs against Lionel Messi, says Andrew Robertson, who rates the Argentine as the best player in the world.
Jurgen Klopp’s side face Barcelona at Camp Nou in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday and left-back Robertson is ready for a tough examination.
The Reds will be aiming for a second successive European final after they finished runners-up to Real Madrid last season, but they must get past the favourites to win the competition.
“I don’t think you have to prepare any differently from any other game,” Robertson told UEFA .
“Of course, you’re playing against a better player than you usually would… he’s the best player in the world. You can maybe watch clips, although I don’t know if that would help, mind you!
“But I think we all need to be prepared because he drifts all over the pitch.
“You watch him, and sometimes he’s back in the centre-half spot, picking up the ball from deep and things like that, so he’ll start on the right but I’m prepared for him not to stay out there. But I know he’ll be running at us at times, and it’s all about how we defend it.
“We need to defend in packs, but the problem is that it’s not just him.
“If you keep him quiet, then you’ve got [Philippe] Coutinho, who we all know well, you’ve got [Luis] Suarez and people like that who can cause you problems, so it’s not about keeping one man quiet, it’s about keeping the whole team quiet, and that’ll be the hardest thing for us.”
Liverpool narrowly made it through to the final with a 7-6 aggregate win over Roma at the same stage of the competition last year.
But their domestic performances have been more dominant this term, and the Reds could still win a double as they sit just one point behind Manchester City with two games to go in the Premier League.
On the impact of the 2017-18 Champions League campaign, Robertson added: “Of course, we had the disappointment in Kiev [losing to Real in the final], but we’ve used that to our advantage this season.
“A lot of teams might shy away from that and not have as good a season because of the knock-on effect, but I think we’ve done the complete opposite. That was our benchmark and we’ve taken it to a new level this season.
“Whether we end up with a trophy or not is yet to be seen, but the way our season has gone so far has been very positive.”