Jordan Henderson felt the way Liverpool stuck to their task was the key factor in their 2-0 Champions League semi-final victory over Villarreal.
The Reds secured a two-goal advantage ahead of the second leg with a commanding display at Anfield. Despite dominating the match, the hosts failed to find the net during the first 45 minutes. But on 53 minutes, Henderson’s cross was deflected beyond Villarreal keeper Geronimo Rulli by Pervis Estupinan.
That lifted an already vociferous home crowd and Sadio Mane doubled the Merseysiders’ advantage just two minutes later. Jurgen Klopp’s men continued to control the match but failed to add a third.
The north-west giants are firm favourites to complete the job in Spain. Henderson is taking nothing for granted, however, and thanked the supporters for helping them through the contest.
“They are a very organised team and we knew they would make it difficult,” he told BT Sport. “It was just important that we kept going and believe that we would eventually break them down. We did that with two good goals.
“First one was a bit lucky. Good build up but a bit lucky, in off the defender and keeper I think. But you need a bit of luck when a team plays with a low block.
“We got that and it lifted the crowd. Majority of the game, the counter-press was really good. It made it difficult for them. But the game is still alive and it will be tough in Villarreal.”
Robertson echoes Henderson thoughts on Anfield lift
Liverpool remain on course for an unprecedented quadruple. Chelsea await in the FA Cup final while it will be either Manchester City or Real Madrid if they get past Villarreal.
Defender Andrew Robertson has been a massive part of the success this term. And he also credited the Anfield roar for Mane’s goal.
“We had a few chances in the first half, trying to break them down. We had a bit of momentum after the first goal and the noise in here was incredible,” he said.
“It took us to the second one. We would have liked one more but a clean sheet and two goals, we can’t argue with that.”
Liverpool’s success means they have played many games over the past few weeks. But, with so much at stake, Robertson feels it is a small price to pay.
“It is the semi-final of the Champions League. If you can’t run around for 90 minutes in this kind of game, when will you,” he added.
“Our intensity has been high last couple of games. We have had a hectic schedule but we are enjoying it. There is still work to do but we are happy.”