Liverpool boss Klopp: We must respect Villarreal; Everton know we deserved derby win

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has hinted he expects a repeat of Sunday’s win against Everton facing Villarreal tonight.

The Reds host the first-leg of their Champions League semifinal at Anfield.

In his column for the Villarreal matchday programme, Klopp says: “As a team and a club we have been blessed to enjoy some fantastic experiences together in European competition since I arrived here and we managed this because we always respected our opponents’ strengths while not ignoring our own qualities. That will be the case tonight. It’s always the balance to strike.

“It’s not a case of ‘fearing’ Villarreal or their talent. This is never our mindset. But we know to have any chance of progressing beyond the semi-finals we must show our best face for the entirety of this contest. Every second of it.

“We cannot switch off at any moment, or we could be done. We have to use all our own tools. We have to work harder than them. We have to be braver and more committed. It’s that simple. So we will focus on ourselves and what we can do.

“The match at the weekend was a good example of how important it is to keep the focus on yourself and trust your own abilities. I know there was a lot of conjecture around certain incidents in the game, but the reality is we thoroughly deserved to win over the course of the 90 minutes. We dominated, in my view.

“We have definitely played better in matches than we did on Sunday, both recently and over the course of the season, but at this stage of the season it really is about showing the ‘street-smart’ to ensure the end outcome is what you are working for.

“What was key is that in the face of high pressure and an opponent giving all they had, we didn’t lose belief in ourselves and we remained patient. We trusted ourselves. This was the case on the pitch and in the stands. I loved it, actually. It was a group of players and supporters showing a total understanding of the situation in front of them.

“We are going to need to be exactly the same tonight. We know whatever happens, this tie will be alive going to Spain for the second leg. So absolutely nothing will be decided tonight, in either direction. That’s important to acknowledge. What we can do this evening is try to win a football match. That would be cool I think.”

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