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Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool won’t make same mistake as Bayern Munich vs Villarreal

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Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool won’t underestimate Villarreal in their Champions League semi-final ahead of the first leg at Anfield on Wednesday evening.

The Reds take on the Spanish minnows in the last four of the illustrious competition. Villarreal have never reached the Champions League final before but have defeated both Bayern Munich and Juventus to set up a two-legged contest with Liverpool.

Villarreal boss Unai Emery has also defeated Klopp’s side in Europe before, leading Sevilla to victory in the Europa League final in 2016. Emery’s Villarreal are the defending champions of that competition having beaten Manchester United in last May’s final.

“We have properly analysed Villarreal,” said Klopp at a press conference on Tuesday. “I have proper respect for Unai and them. I watched them properly and wow! Impressive. He is a detail-obsessed manager. Different ways to press and react to different results.

“A world-class coach doing an incredible job… there might have been a slight advantage [for Villarreal] where Juve or Bayern might have underestimated them but that won’t happen with us. They want to be part of the final but it’s the same importance for us.

“They’re 7th in La Liga. After they won the quarter-final with Bayern, in between they played Bilbao and Unai changed 11 times. Spain is obviously competitive. It’s a difficult league to be successful in, but Unai shows he has a plan for each result 1-0 up, 1-0 down etc.”

Klopp continued: “There are moments when we will suffer and I know that. We don’t need to get nervous but we can make them suffer too. We will work with our result and fight at Villarreal because it means everything.”

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson added: “They’re a very good team. They have beaten Juve and Bayern and have an experienced manager. So it’s a really tough test as any Champions League semi would be. We’ll have to be at our best.”

Liverpool are aiming to become the first English team in history to win the quadruple. They’ve already lifted the EFL Cup and reached the FA Cup final. The Reds are currently second in the Premier League, on point behind champions Manchester City.

“Motivation for us is just winning,” said Henderson. “We have to win every game, no matter who it’s against. Got to focus on that. We don’t get carried away and give everything. It’s boring but we’ve done that all season. What we’ll do in the next few weeks too.”

The Liverpool skipper went on to say: “What we’ve achieved so far in the last few years and how we’ve reacted to last year is very special in itself but still a long way to go. I know how quickly football can change so it’s about keeping focus.”

On the atmosphere at Anfield, Henderson said: “Anfield is always special on European nights. Hopefully it’ll be the case tomorrow. We need to perform to the levels we’re capable of. The crowd will be there so we’ll have to be as well.”

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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