Former Liverpool striker Fernando Morientes has warned the Reds not be complacent when they face Villarreal – a side he has branded “one of the best sides in La Liga”.
Jurgen Klopp’s side travel to Spain to meet the Yellow Submarine in Thursday’s Europa League semi-final first leg as strong favourites after their dramatic defeat of Borussia Dortmund in the previous round.
However, former Liverpool striker Morientes, signed by Rafa Benitez from Real Madrid, has warned his old club that Villarreal will be an extremely tough nut to crack.
“For me, Villarreal is one of the best teams in La Liga at the moment. They have real quality,” he said. “Everyone said they are the best team for Liverpool to face in the last four, but they are ahead of [holders and fellow semi-finalists] Sevilla in La Liga and a better side.
“They play very good football. They have a very strong mentality and the coach always tries to attack. It’s always the same. They are a team to be feared – a very good team who will play in the Champions League next season for sure, and will do well in the competition.”
Villarreal currently lie fourth in La Liga, and until recently had looked set to make a late charge for the title until a recent run of three defeats and a draw scuppered their chances.