Liverpool face a tricky test against Villarreal in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals
Many clubs would like to be in Liverpool’s position right now. The Reds are on course to win the quadruple in a season where they’ve rarely done anything wrong.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have already bagged one trophy after winning the Carabao Cup in February. They trail Manchester City by just one point in the Premier League title race.
Additionally, the Merseyside giants are in the final of the FA Cup, where they’ll face Chelsea in May. They are also favorites in their UEFA Champions League semi-final tie against Villarreal.
Having already slain Inter Milan and Benfica in the last 16 and quarter-final stages, respectively, Liverpool have no excuse not to beat Villarreal and reach the final.
Villarreal are a slippery slope
On paper, Villarreal are the weakest among the four teams that have made it to the last four of this season’s Champions League. However, they cannot be underestimated.
Unai Emery’s charges have done enough to show that they are the archetypal giant-slayers in Europe after knocking out heavyweights Juventus and Bayern Munich.
The Yellow Submarine have upset several big teams in the last eight months, and they simply relish playing against superior opponents.
Liverpool may be huge favorites in the Champions League, but they’ll need to be at their best to defeat Villarreal. Anything less, and the Reds could become the next giants to fall at the hands of Emery’s side.
Complacency could cost Liverpool
Villarreal will be looking to frustrate Liverpool for as long as possible when they visit Anfield on Wednesday. They will play on the back foot and look to catch the Reds on the counterattack.
Klopp’s side certainly have enough experience on how to deal with teams that deploy a low block. However, they’ll need to eschew any form of complacency from their game.
Emery’s side enjoy being the underdogs. If the Reds switch off, even for a millisecond, they could get punished by the visitors.
Klopp said ahead of the game, as quoted by the Guardian.
“We face a very difficult opponent. They are made for this competition, to be 100% honest. The way they set it up is really good.””There might have been a little advantage in the last two games, 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 want to make history as well. It would be the first time they go to a final, which would be a massive thing for Villarreal I can imagine, but it is to us the same importance.”
Underestimating Villarreal is the last thing Liverpool should do. The Spanish side routed Juventus 3-0 in Turin and defeated Bayern Munich en route to reaching the semi-final stage. Any team capable of such results shouldn’t be taken for granted.