By Chris Bascombe
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson summoned the spirit of the membership’s best ever Anfield night time in pursuit of a fourth European last within the Jürgen Klopp-era.
A house, first leg semi-final in opposition to Villarreal could not seem as daunting as overturning a 3-0 deficit to Lionel Messi’s Barcelona, however Henderson and Klopp insisted the depth should equal that epic Champions League comeback three years in the past.
“One hundred percent,” stated Henderson.
“We invested everything into the semi-final against Barcelona, both away and home and we got our rewards in the end. But it wasn’t easy. It was tough. That applies [tonight] and in the away leg for sure. We need to be at our very best.”
Bayern Munich and Juventus’ defeat by the La Liga aspect serves as a warning to Klopp of the perils of believing Liverpool have a beneficial path to the Paris last.
“We need to be on top of our game and I need to be on top of my game,” stated Klopp.
“It is the semi-final of the Champions League and if it was straightforward then one thing could be fully incorrect. If you want a subsequent sport to be 1000 p.c in, then yeah, deliver on Villarreal within the semi-final of the Champions League.
“So many coaches, so many players out there try and work their socks off their whole life and have no chance to be even close to a semi-final so we have to cherish it, appreciate and enjoy it as well. We face a very difficult opponent. Maybe Juve or Bayern underestimated them but that will never happen to us. There is no chance, so this little advantage might have gone. But they are still a really good football team who wants to make history. It would be the first time they go to a final, which would be a massive thing to Villarreal I can imagine, but it is to us the same importance. We want to go there with all we have.”
Villarreal’s arrival on Merseyside stirs combined reminiscences for Liverpool.
They have been overwhelmed by Klopp’s Liverpool within the Europa League semi-final in 2016, however their coach, Unai Emery, had the ultimate phrase within the last. As Sevilla’s supervisor, he oversaw a 3-1 victory.