Robertson on Liverpool's 'new level' and Barcelona threat

"I think we've become a lot more mature," says Liverpool's marauding defender Andy Robertson.

Watch the best of the action from Real Madrid's victory against Liverpool, including Gareth Bale's amazing overhead kick.

Andrew Robertson feels last season's appearance in the UEFA Champions League final set the benchmark for Liverpool and that it would be a "massive honour" to repeat the feat.

However, the full-back is aware that a Barcelona side with an "unbelievable front three and attacking threat" stand in their way. The 25-year-old is, however, used to overcoming such hurdles ...

On being released by Celtic at 15 ...

Barcelona v Liverpool: Previous Champions League meetings
Barcelona v Liverpool: Previous Champions League meetings

It was hard. At that time of your life as well, where you're in school, exams are happening and a lot is going on, it was hard to deal with, but that's when it's so important to have a good family and good friends around you, and luckily I had that at that time. I thank them all the time for that; they got me through it and it wasn't the be-all and end-all. I knew there was life after it, whatever that may be. I knew I just had to enjoy my football, get back playing and see where it took me.

On how the role of a full-back has changed ...

Back in the day it was very much kind of a back four and the full-backs very rarely went over the halfway line. It was kind of a solid line and that was your line of defence, but now football has evolved a bit. We have a position that is number six now that probably didn't exist maybe ten, 15 years ago, and midfielders can hold their position. That gives us full-backs more licence to go forward.

Highlights: Porto 1-4 Liverpool
Highlights: Porto 1-4 Liverpool

It definitely has changed over the last five, ten years even and we've been part of that. We've obviously been in football when this change has happened. Since I've played left-back, I was always, even at a young age, trying to attack as well, but that was the way it was going. Now it's completely different and full-backs are a lot more important than maybe they used to be. 

On Liverpool's full-backs providing creativity ...

We work on it and the manager knows that  mostly it's been me and Trent [Alexander-Arnold] this season. We can deliver in the final third, but he always drills into us that we need to be defenders first and foremost. But we do have the licence to go forward, and as long as the protection is right all over the pitch, then one of us can go forward, or even both at times if two midfielders are sitting.

You need to get the balance right, and sometimes it's time to sit back and defend the lead, especially when it gets to a point in the season where we're fighting for everything. I think we've become a lot more mature, even over this season.

On the semi-final against Barcelona ...

Watch all of Messi's goals against English clubs
Watch all of Messi's goals against English clubs

I think it will be unbelievably hard. They have an unbelievable front three and attacking threat, and of course they've got the best player in the world, in my opinion, and that never helps us! We need to be on our game defensively, but we believe that we can cause them problems as well. We believe we've got an amazing front three and also people that can cause problems from deeper, and if we can do that then hopefully we can cause them problems and do enough to get to the final.

Semi-finals are exciting prospects but they're also tense and very emotional, so it's all about controlling that and hopefully getting the better of them. We know how hard it's going to be, but we're full of confidence that we can get the results we need to try to get to the final.

On coming up against Lionel Messi ...

Champions League semi-final flashback
Champions League semi-final flashback

I don't think you have to prepare any differently from any other game. Of course, you're playing against a better player than you usually would  like I said, he's the best player in the world. You can maybe watch clips, although I don't know if that would help!

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, so he'll start on the right but I'm prepared for him not to stay out there. I know he'll be running at us at times, and it's all about how we defend it.

On the prospect of reaching back-to-back finals ...

It'd be huge. Last year was unbelievable for us, to get to the final and to beat Roma the way that we did. We know how good a feeling it was getting to the final, how exciting the end of the season was and everything leading up to the final. We want to be back there again.

Watch 2018 final highlights
Watch 2018 final highlights

Of course we had the disappointment in Kyiv, 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. Getting to another final would be huge. It would be a massive honour, but we know how hard the challenge is going to be. Then we can think about everything else that goes along with it, because Madrid's a lot easier to get to than Kyiv!

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