Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has warned that the Anfield atmosphere can make life “much more difficult for Villarreal than they imagine in this moment” in Thursday’s Europa League semifinal second leg.
Villarreal are in a strong position to reach the final after a 1-0 first-leg victory at El Madrigal courtesy of Adrian Lopez’s injury-time goal.
However, Liverpool defied all expectations in the quarterfinals when, having drawn 1-1 away to Borussia Dortmund, they fell 3-1 behind to the German side at home before battling back to win 4-3 on the night.
Klopp has urged the fans to recreate the famous Anfield atmosphere against Villarreal as they bid to overcome the deficit and book their place in the final in Basel.
“If we can create with our game a similar atmosphere as Dortmund then it will be much more difficult for Villarreal than they imagine in this moment,” Klopp told a news conference.
“We still feel good despite losing the first game. I don’t think we are through or that we are halfway or something, but I don’t think we are out either.
“It’s not that from now on I always expect wonders from us or the crowd in difficult close games, but against Dortmund we all felt how big the influence is of an outstanding atmosphere.
“For the players, it is just about focusing on the game and doing whatever you can. Fight for your life if you want. It is a wonderful opportunity, nothing else.”
On the Anfield support, he added: “I have not enough words for this. To be honest, it is one of the things in life you cannot buy. It is most special.
“It is these moments when you really know it is not just the crowd in the stadium: I saw some videos of fans celebrating our fourth goal [against Dortmund] at home. I’m sure a lot of people didn’t have their cell phones on so we missed a lot of wonderful celebrations.
“I don’t want to make it too big. It is a moment for the whole Liverpool world. Everyone will be watching on television, listening on radio or following on the internet.”
Villarreal’s wild celebrations at their last-minute winner in the first leg left a mark on Klopp, but he said it does not give him extra incentive.
“They scored a goal in the last minute so if they hadn’t celebrated something would have been really wrong,” he said. “The only thing I thought in this moment was ‘half-time.’ Nothing happened. They have to come to Anfield.
“I am still feeling this, so the feeling is we are halfway through and I know how difficult it is. I sense the chance more than I am afraid of something, so let’s try.”
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