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Liverpool must be ready to suffer against Villarreal, says Klopp

The problem in our job is everything’s perfect until the next game starts on the wrong foot, says the manager



Liverpool’s Naby Keita eyes the ball during a training session on Monday. Photo: Reuters
Liverpool’s Naby Keita eyes the ball during a training session on Monday. Photo: Reuters

By AFP/Reuter

Published: Mon 2 May 2022, 9:46 PM

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has warned his side must be “ready to suffer” against Villarreal if they are to reach the Champions League final.

The six-times champions of Europe will travel to Spain for Tuesday’s second leg of their semifinal with a healthy 2-0 lead.

Liverpool are aiming to win a remarkable quadruple of trophies in the one campaign.

“With all these things during the season, obviously with the situation we are in, we must have done something right, that is clear,” Klopp told reporters on Monday.

Liverpool have lost just three matches since the turn of the year.

German boss Klopp, however, put that run of form into context by adding: “But the problem in our job is everything’s perfect until the next game starts on the wrong foot and all of a sudden the game gets a different dynamic.

“It is good to know — and it is more a feeling inside, not that we are flying constantly and high-fiving here and there — we are in a good moment.

“But my only concern is what we do (on Tuesday) night and we have to be ready to suffer but not going 1-0 down or whatever — that can happen in football matches — but giving the game the right direction.”

Klopp explained his thinking by reference to Liverpool’s hard-fought 1-0 win away to Newcastle on Saturday that maintained their challenge for the Premier League title.

“A good example was Newcastle; the crowd was obviously very passionate but we did not let it happen, which was the biggest quality of this game,” he said.

“It was not a show of football brilliance or whatever...Suffering doesn’t mean you suffer for long, it means you suffer (clicks fingers) and then react.”

Liverpool have won two Champions League semifinals under Klopp, losing the 2018 final to Real Madrid and winning a sixth European Cup against English rivals Tottenham the following year.

Klopp said the experience of fighting for several trophies at once could benefit Liverpool at El Madrigal.

“What we learned in that time was you cannot win 10 games, you can win one game and then the next one — but only if you are 100 percent focused on the first,” he recalled.

“We have to be ready to play a top game because they (Villarreal) will go for us.

“They will try to play much more football than we allowed them in the first game.”

Meanwhile, Yellow Submarine would aim to rekindle the spirit that saw off Juventus and Bayern Munich when they bid to overturn the 2-0 deficit on Tuesday.

A 2-1 LaLiga loss to lowly Alaves was not ideal preparation and coach Unai Emery knows how hard it will be to beat Liverpool.

“We will need a perfect game to achieve what no other team in Europe accomplished against Liverpool this season,” Emery told a news conference on Monday.

“Overturning a two-goal deficit is already complicated against any rivals and much more when your opponent is a team that is almost flawless. We benefit that away goals are not worth double any more so it gives us more freedom to attack,” he added.

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“Homefield advantage there was key and I hope it work the same for us here. We need to be impeccable on defence, better than in Anfield. And we need to find our game, something that we have not achieved in the first leg.”

After eliminating former champions Juventus in the last 16 and Bayern in the quarterfinals, the former Paris St Germain and Arsenal manager believes his team are capable of delivering another shock. “I want my players and the fans to face the challenge with pride,” Emery said.

“Football is about feelings, and we feel a great connection to our fan base, being from a small industrial town. I truly believe we have what it takes to present Liverpool something they didn’t experience this season so far.”


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