Former Liverpool defender Javier Manquillo gives his Champions League verdict

Javier Manquillo has backed his former club Liverpool in their Champions League semi-final against Barcelona.

Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 10:49 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 11:30 am
Javier Manquillo.

Jurgen Klopp's side take on Newcastle United at St James's Park on Saturday night in what could be a decisive fixture in the Premier League title race.

However, they have the first leg of their Champions League semi-final at the Nou Camp tonight.

Manquillo spent the 2014-15 season on loan at Liverpool, and the defender believes home advantage in the second leg could be all-important.

"Liverpool have the advantage that they have the return leg at home," Manquillo told Marca. "They're going to press a lot on the pitch with the help of the fans, and that will be an important factor.

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"(Sadio) Mane is a great player, and together with (Roberto) Firmino and (Mohamed) Salah, they complement each other wonderfully, and they're some of the best players in the world.

"Since (Virgil van Dijk) arrived, he has given a lot of security in the defensive zone and a lot of stability, as he knows put everyone in order very well.

"He's one of the best, if not the best in the world."

Liverpool sold Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for a staggering £140million fee last year.

"(Coutinho) is a great player and I do not know what people expect," said Manquillo. “But he's going to do a lot at Barcelona, and they should take care of him.

"He's a spectacular person. One of the things that surprised me the most was that someone so good at football is so humble off the pitch.

“The more freedom you give him on the pitch, the better it will be for him, as with that freedom he can be a determining player in any team."