Andy Robertson reveals what Jurgen Klopp said to his Liverpool players after Nou Camp defeat
Liverpool full-back Andy Robertson has revealed the rallying call issued by his manager Jurgen Klopp after the 3-0 Champions League semi-final defeat against Barcelona at the Nou Camp earlier this month, as he suggested he always believed his team would bounce back in the second leg at Anfield.
In a passionate column written for The Players' Tribune website, Scotland international Robertson opened up on his rise to the top of the game, with his recollection of the semi-final win against Barcelona stirring the emotion ahead of Saturday's final against Tottenham in Madrid.
"We knew that we had a chance when we were in the dressing room waiting to run out," stated Robertson, as he reflected on a memorable second leg at Anfield.
"We knew that the manager believed in us because he had told us. We knew that the supporters believed in us because we could hear them. My God, we could hear them. And, probably most important of all, we knew that we believed in ourselves and in each other.
"That's why when Divock (Origi) scored in the seventh minute, I didn't just believe. I knew. I knew what was coming — what Anfield was going to create. I hope that doesn't sound disrespectful in any way, because I couldn't have more respect for Barcelona, but on that night it wasn't about them. It was about us. We were fired up by the fans and our hunger was on another level.
"It hadn't been easy to feel like that in the minutes after Messi had worked his magic in the first leg. At that stage, we felt flat, which was probably unavoidable. Although we were in Barcelona, Madrid couldn't have felt further away. Then the manager came into the dressing room, bouncing and wearing his trademark massive smile.
"'Boys, boys, boys,'" he says, "'We are not the best team in the world. Now you know that. Maybe they are! Who cares? Who cares! We can still beat the best team in the world. Let's go again.'
"I suppose that night will go down in history. Anybody who loves this club will remember where they were, and who they were watching with. For me personally, what made it even more special was where I had come from to get there."
Robertson went on to discuss his passion for Celtic and the fact that his bedroom had green wallpaper and was bedecked in photographs of Henrik Larsson, with his pain when he was rejected by the Parkhead club in his youth chronicled in emotional fashion.
"I had grown up going to Celtic Park with Mum, Dad and my brother. We had four season tickets," he stated.
"My brother and I had Henrik Larsson posters everywhere. Legend. Absolute legend. I even had green wallpaper. Celtic was a part of our family. That's just the way it was and the way it still is. I joined the youth team as a wee lad, just bombing around the pitch pretending I was at Celtic Park.
"Over time, I found my way into midfield, and in my last season with Celtic I bounced between the middle and left side quite a bit. They'd brought in a new technical director that year and apparently, I just wasn't in the plans for whatever reason.
"At my end-of-year interview, the coaches let me know they wouldn't be bringing me back. I was 15. One year away from getting a pro contract. One year from being a proper Celtic player. But it was over, just like that, and it hurt like hell.
"Mum hated to see us cry. Still does. But she saw me shed more than a few tears that day. I remember she grabbed me a takeout curry from my favourite place to try to cheer me up. It was midweek, too. I almost never got midweek curry. I couldn't even eat much of that. That's how she knew how bad I was hurting."
Robertson suggests Liverpool's hunger to win the Champions League will be fuelled by their near miss in the Premier League title race this season, as he concluded with this rallying cry to Liverpool fans.
"It's not lost on any of us what this opportunity means," he added. "This has been an incredible season, full of so many ups and downs and emotional moments. But for me, it's also been a chance to take a step back and see the full picture.
"From being released by Celtic and sobbing over my curry, to making six quid a night grinding away in Scotland, to signing for Liverpool and putting on that red tracksuit, barely believing it.
"It feels good to have another crack at this final. Nobody deserves it more than our supporters, who have backed us through the good times and the heartbreak. But like us, they will know that we are up against a top side in Spurs. Mauricio Pochettino and his players will be just as determined as we are to do something special in a final like this.
"The thing that matters most is that our fate is in our hands. We know that. And if there's one thing I can guarantee about this team, about this group of players, it's that we will stop at nothing to try to make our supporters' dream come true.
"If that does happen, it won't be a fairy tale. It'll be because we deserve it."