Liverpool registered a convincing victory against Villarreal in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final stage. The Reds showed their class by completely dominating the game at Anfield. They won the game 2-0 and have a healthy lead ahead of their visit to Spain. However, Jurgen Klopp thinks otherwise and he insists that they must remain ‘completely alert’ at El Madrigal.
While one fixture granted us the best semi-final round, the other showed us the most dominant side. Liverpool were simply unplayable and it was only surprising that they could not register more than two goals. Villarreal were never in the game and it was statistically evident as they registered only one shot, none on target.
Despite the outcome of the two-legged fixture already looking clear, Klopp denies the thought of winning yet as they are to face the stronger side of theirs on their home soil. “It’s 2-0, half-time, no more, no less,” the Liverpool manager said. “It is a dangerous scoreline. How much work is left to do? The full work.
Nothing has happened yet. It’s 2-0 at half-time and we have to be completely on alert and 100% in the right mood. We have to play the second half like the first half, as though there is nothing to defend.
We know we go there and it will be a tricky atmosphere for us. It will be different to tonight. These players, this coach, they will fight for it with all they have. And what I like is that we also fight with it with all we have.
If they beat us with a result that takes them to the final, then they deserve it. If not, then we deserve it. That’s how the competition is. We played a really good game and now in five [six] days we play again and we have to make sure we are ready.”
Pervis Estupinan’s Own Goal Helps Liverpool Take the Lead
Despite Liverpool’s efforts, the first half of the night ended without a goal. However, the game tilted to their favour in just two minutes. The player who opened the scoring was Villarreal’s Pervis Estupinan. Mohamed Salah plays the ball into the right side to Jordan Henderson, who after looking for options delivered the ball into the middle.
Estupinan stuck out his boot in an attempt to stop the cross but instead created a huge deflection. This startled the keeper who had taken a few steps forward to deal with the cross. Although Geronimo Rulli got a hand to it, it wasn’t enough to keep it out.
Two minutes later, Liverpool doubled the lead through Sadio Mane. The Yellow Submarines were unhinged having conceded a goal, which the Reds took to their advantage. Salah blended his way into the opponent’s box and delivered a through-ball. Sadio Mane had already made his run and reached the ball ahead of the keeper to find the bottom-right corner of the net.
Liverpool also had two other chances ruled out by VAR. Talking about how difficult it was to break the resilient Villarreal defence, Klopp explained, “It was a brilliant game. First half I liked a lot. We didn’t score, that is the only problem actually. But we kept them quiet, which is important because of the attacking threat that they are.
We tried to create, tried to be direct, mix it up, all these kinds of things, play through the lines, over the lines. We had a lot of good moments, no goals, true. In the second half, we finished the situations off in a superb way. Both goals were outstanding. We wanted to score a third but from that moment on it makes sense that we control the game and that is what we did.”