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Ernesto Valverde wary of ‘powerful’ Liverpool threat for Barcelona

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Ernesto Valverde accepts Barcelona will have to be at the top of their game to overcome Liverpool’s “very powerful” threat in their Champions League clash.

The Catalan giants are chasing a first European crown since 2015 and a treble for the season, with the club on the brink of winning La Liga along with meeting Valencia for the Copa del Rey final next month.

Standing in Barcelona’s way of reaching the Champions League final at Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano on June 1 is Liverpool in the last four.

After losing last season’s final at Kiev to Real Madrid, the Reds are hoping to go one better this time around.

A 6-1 aggregate thrashing of FC Porto in the quarter-finals sent out a clear message to all their rivals that Jurgen Klopp’s men are back to their best following a rather sluggish start to 2019.

Liverpool are on an eight-match winning run in all competitions and have scored 22 goals in the process. They also remain firmly in the hunt for Premier League glory this season.

And Blaugrana coach Valverde is particularly worried over Liverpool’s strike trio Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

“Liverpool are a very powerful opponent. Offensive players have been showing their potential in the last two years,” said Valverde, according to AOL.

“Last year they reached the final. This time they’re having a great tournament. They are also fighting in the Premier League.

“It’s a very attractive game for them, for us and for the public. It will be very hard, for them and for us.

“The final is just there and we’ll give our best to reach it.”

The first leg between Barcelona and Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals will take place at Camp Nou on May 1. The two sides will meet again at Anfield for the return fixture a week later.

For now, however, Barcelona’s focus will be on tonight’s La Liga match against Real Sociedad at home. The match will kick-off at 20:45 (CEST).