Liverpool defeat Villarreal to get to the Champions League final
Despite having one foot in the Champions League final with a commanding 2-0 win over Villarreal in the first leg of their semi-final encounter at Anfield on Wednesday, Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool must be “on alert.”
Pervis Estupinan deflected Jordan Henderson’s cross into his own net before Sadio Mane added a second to undo Villarreal manager Unai Emery’s defensive game plan.
The Reds are still on track to win the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, and League Cup for the first time in club history.
And, barring a major upset when the teams meet again in southern Spain in six days, Liverpool’s season will end on May 28 in Paris with a third Champions League final in five seasons.
“It’s 2-0 at halftime,” Klopp stated. “You have to be absolutely focused, 100 percent in the moment, and play the second half the same way we did the first.” We’re aware that it’ll be a challenging environment for us.”
In sharp contrast to the free-flowing excitement of Manchester City’s 4-3 win over Real Madrid in the other semi-final on Tuesday, Emery’s side used the same strategy that got them past Juventus and Bayern Munich, retiring behind the ball.
The Yellow Submarine, on the other hand, could scarcely lay a glove on Klopp’s players, who simply had to wait their turn to make their domination count.
“The 2-0 is a well-deserved victory,” Emery stated. “It might have been a lot worse, but there’s still hope.”
“I want to demonstrate that we can play a different game at home.”
The Reds have already scored 135 goals this season, but they were held scoreless for the first 45 minutes, which was disheartening.
With the greatest chance, Mane headed wide Mohamed Salah’s perfect cross.
A deflected shot from the Senegalese also went just wide, while Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli escaped with a clean sheet despite some clumsy handling from a number of speculative tries.
Before the interval, Liverpool came within a whisker of breaking the deadlock as Thiago Alcantara’s beautiful effort clipped the post.