Liverpool (dpa) – Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool FC did not let the Bayern fright FC Villarreal stop them on their way to the historic four-pack title.
The Reds scored a well-deserved 2-0 (0-0) against the Europa League winners Spain in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals and are about to reach their third final in five years. Already on April 3rd, Liverpool can make progress for the final in Paris on May 28th in the second leg. For Villarreal, on the other hand, after the successes over Juventus Turin and FC Bayern, another coup is a long way off.
Henderson: “There is still a lot to do”
A cross from Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson (53′) and star striker Sadio Mané (55′), deflected into the goal by Pervis Estupinan, sealed the Klopp team’s victory. This means that the English still have the best chance of winning all four titles for the first time in the club’s history. They’ve already won the League Cup, they’ve reached the FA Cup final against Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel, and Liverpool are just a point behind long-time rivals Manchester City in the league.
“I’m very happy, Villarreal are well organised. We knew it was going to be difficult. Our counter-pressing was really good. That made it difficult for the opposition but the game isn’t over yet. It’s going to be tough in Villarreal,” he said Henderson and colleague Andrew Robertson said: “No conceding and two goals scored, we can’t complain. Our intensity has been very high in recent games. Our schedule is hectic but we’re enjoying it. There’s still work to be done.”
The spectators did not get to see a spectacle like the day before when Man City beat Real Madrid 4: 3 in the first semi-final. Klopp hadn’t expected that either. Because Villarreal was well prepared for the power football of the Reds in the first half by the clever coach Unai Emery, who won 31 of his last 37 knockout duels in the European Cup. It was only in the second half that the Spanish defensive artists were no longer able to cope with the constant pressure and could still be satisfied with the result.
Unemployed evening for Liverpool keeper
Until then, patience was required at Klopp. Because the seventh-placed team in the Primera Division knew very well how to delay the pace, break the flow of the English game and defend compactly on the defensive. In addition, the Spaniards had the necessary luck in the first round, such as Thiago’s long-range shot on the post (42nd).
The two Liverpool offensive stars Mané (12th/33rd) and Mohamed Salah (27th/35th) also lacked precision in their chances. 12:0 shots on goal after 35 minutes expressed the one-sidedness of the game. For LFC goalkeeper Alisson it was a nearly idle evening.
Despite the unsuccessful start, the Klopp team didn’t get nervous, increased the pressure again in the second round and was whipped forward by their own supporters. Suddenly the magical Anfield mood was there and Villarreal staggered like a battered boxer.