Jurgen Klopp explained what advantage Liverpool have over Villarreal’s other Champions League opponents, and was made aware of an incredible statistic he described as “wonderful”.
Liverpool’s quest for an unprecedented quadruple marches on with Villarreal the next hurdle to overcome. The Spanish side will travel to Anfield for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final clash on Wednesday night.
Villarreal have been the surprise package in this year’s competition with Juventus and Bayern Munich among the teams they have vanquished.
And speaking in his Tuesday press conference, Klopp suggested Villarreal’s prior opponents may have underestimated their prowess on the European stage.
The German was then keen to stress Liverpool won’t fall into that trap amid a stellar assessment of opposite number Unai Emery.
“There might have been a slight advantage [for Villarreal] where Juventus or Bayern Munich might have underestimated them, but that won’t happen with us,” said Klopp (via the Liverpool Echo).
“They want to be part of the final but it’s the same importance for us.
“We did a proper analysis. I had a lot of respect for Emery and Villarreal before, but I watched them properly and….wow! Impressive.
“He is a detail-obsessed manager. Different ways to press and react to different results. A world-class coach doing an incredible job.”
Klopp reveals turning point in Liverpool season
Liverpool have lost just one match in 2022 – the second leg of the Round of 16 tie against Inter Milan.
Their record in the calendar year thus far currently stands at 20 wins, 5 draws and one defeat. That incredible run has put them in contention for trophies on four fronts with the EFL Cup already safely secured.
When asked if there was a point in which Liverpool started to treat every match like a cup final, Klopp said: “When I came back from my Covid break (in mid-January)…it was obvious, we were 14 points behind [in the Premier League], two games in hand.
“Then we decided to give it a try. We had big expectations and we’d played OK until then. Then we had something to go for. Main thing we had to do is qualify for Champions League next season.”
Klopp was then made aware of a statistic he described as “wonderful.”
20 different Liverpool players have scored senior first-team goals this season and Klopp was visibly taken aback to learn of the feat.
For context, Liverpool had 19 different scorers last season including Alisson Becker who remarkably notched against West Brom. Their title-winning season in 2019/20 also produced 19 different scorers.
“It’s a wonderful stat,” added the German. “Never had that before.
“A block on the line is like scoring for me. No lists for that but otherwise, has [Alisson] scored yet!? He’s made some saves that are like scoring. We have to show this ability.”