Jurgen Klopp has revealed the main reason Liverpool conceded three goals against Benfica and praised upcoming opponents Villarreal.
The Reds drew 3-3 with Benfica at Anfield to give them a 6-4 aggregate win in the Champions League quarter-final clash. Ibrahima Konate gave the home side the lead, but Goncalo Ramos then fired past Alisson to drag Benfica level.
Roberto Firmino struck twice after the break to give Liverpool a two-goal cushion. However, forwards Roman Yaremchuk and Darwin Nunez made it 3-3 to give the Portuguese outfit some hope of a famous comeback.
That ultimately did not happen, though, sending Klopp’s men into the last four of Europe’s elite knockout competition – our Player Ratings are available here. They will face Villarreal after the Yellow Submarine’s impressive victory over Bayern.
During a post-match interview with BT Sport (via BBC Sport), Klopp explained how changing the back four had led to his team conceding three goals.
“The day we qualify for the Champions League semi-final and I’m not happy please come and knock me out,” he said.
Jurgen Klopp emphasises team rotation
“We made seven changes. The situation was the last line had never played together and it was about details, staying 100 per cent concentrated.
“It was not exactly what we wanted but it is absolutely not important because if we played the best game of the season tonight it wouldn’t have made it more likely to get to the final.
“We are through and that’s all that matters and I’m really happy.
“The one thing we knew is it will be hard as the last line never played together. You lose the boys like Virgil [van Dijk] and these things are normal. This is not a problem.
“Benfica kept believing and kept going, that’s all. It was important we could make changes and still be successful. That’s fine.”
On Unai Emery’s team, Klopp added: “If I could do an analysis of Villarreal right now that would be very strange. I saw the results, the game was very impressive.
“I only picked up pieces but to beat Juventus and Bayern Munich they deserve to be in the Champions League semi-finals. Unai Emery is the king of the cups, it is unbelievable what he is doing. But give me a bit of time to prepare it properly.”
Liverpool skipper looks ahead to Villarreal
During a separate post-match interview with BT Sport, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said: “I think we’d want to do better but I felt we started well, we could have scored more goals in the first half. We did well but we’re disappointed with the goals we conceded.
“We knew it would be tough. We wanted to give everything and we’re through which is the most important thing.”
On semi-final opponents Villarreal, Henderson added: “They’ve knocked out good sides. They’re a very good team and it will be a difficult tie.
“We need to be ready to give it everything and hopefully we can progress to the final.
“We want to do our best in every competition. We want to give a big push to compete in all of them.”