Jurgen Klopp has spoken of his determination to lead Liverpool into the Europa League final – but knows a ‘well-drilled’ Villarreal side will be far from easy to overcome.
The Reds trail the Spaniards 1-0 after the first leg in Spain last week and Klopp, speaking in a press conference to preview the game, insists he will try not to put too much pressure on his men.
“I don’t want to make it too big,” he said. “It’s only football I know, but this is a moment for the whole Liverpool world.
“When I think about my team I never have a limit where it could go. I don’t know how far we are. I’m not interested.
“My players have given me a lot of positive signs about their quality. We don’t have to think too much. We are ready. All we did is to be perfectly prepared for a game like this tomorrow.”
Klopp was asked about the special Anfield atmosphere on European nights, and he continued: “I don’t have enough words for this. It’s one of the things in life you cannot buy. It’s most special.”
Standing in Liverpool’s way are Villarreal and Klopp knows his men face an almighty battle to overcome a 1-0 deficit against the La Liga side.
“They’ve done an unbelievable job,” Klopp said. “I’m not surprised [by their achievements]. It’s a special club.
“It’s a small city, with a very successful football club.
“If we don’t (stop them) there will be a lot of Spanish teams in finals.
“Hopefully we can go there [and fly] with the English flag.
“I’ve never lost a semi-final to a Spanish team!
“They combine really good players with good tactical advice. They have different styles but it’s always a mixture of good players.
“We know about the style of Villarreal. They are a really good, tuned team. They changed eight players and won at Valencia. That’s not too easy.
“A lot of people thought we could have done more, but if we had been more offensive we would have opened space for them. In other games they have more chances.
“It wasn’t a good result, but a good feeling.”
Klopp was asked about he rated Liverpool’s chances, and added: “We know we have 90-something minutes. It’s not about being patient, it’s about being patient with a clear direction.
“We have to know about the game, not with pressure, only with joy.
“It’s only playing football. Football is a fair game. If we play our best then we can go to the final.”
Liverpool injury news
Klopp was then asked if Daniel Sturridge will start: “I was waiting for this question. He could be, 100%, but I’ve made no decision yet about the line up.”
Klopp, however, did report some better news on two of their midfielders: “Emre Can is ready to return to the squad for sure. Hendo [Jordan Henderson] in a good way for England, but I’m not sure about for Liverpool. He’s not on the [training] pitch yet.”