Jurgen Klopp in buoyant mood as Liverpool seal place in Champions League final four
Jurgen Klopp insisted he was satisfied with his side's efforts as they moved into the Champions League semi-finals after an eventful game at Anfield.
Liverpool eased into a Champions League semi-final against Villarreal as even a sloppy 3-3 draw with Benfica saw them progress 6-4 on aggregate.
On the last two occasions the two teams had met in the last eight of this competition the Reds went on to lift the trophy (1978 and 1984) and there has been little to suggest they cannot make it three this season.
Klopp’s side have won eight of their 10 matches, scoring 25 goals – drawing a blank in their only defeat to Inter Milan – and conceding just 11.
Holding a 3-1 advantage from the first leg afforded them a considerable cushion and like in the Estadio da Luz last week centre-back Ibrahima Konate opened the scoring with a header.
Roberto Firmino scored twice, his first Champions League goals at Anfield since March 2020, after Goncalo Ramos had equalised in the first half.
A ragged finish saw the visitors’ Roman Yaremchuk and Darwin Nunez score late to dampen the party atmosphere and provide a warning – albeit it to a second-choice defence – that they cannot afford to take lightly the threat of Villarreal, considered the easier draw, who dispatched Bayern Munich to reach the semi-finals.
"The day we qualify for the Champions League semi-final and I'm not happy please come and knock me out," Klopp told BT Sport.
"We made seven changes. The situation was the last line had never played together and it was about details, staying 100% concentrated.
"It was not exactly what we wanted but it is absolutely not important because if we played the best game of the season tonight it wouldn't have made it more likely to get to the final. We are through and that's all that matters and I'm really happy.
"The one thing we knew is it will be hard as the last line never played together. You lose the boys like Virgil (van Dijk) and these things are normal. This is not a problem. Benfica kept believing and kept going that's all. It was important we could make changes and still be successful."
Klopp went on to suggest semi-final opponents Villarreal cannot be taken lightly, after they beat Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.
"If I could do an analysis of Villarreal right now that would be very strange. I saw the results, the game was very impressive," he added.
"I only picked up pieces but to beat Juventus and Bayern Munich they deserve to be in the Champions League semi-finals. Unai Emery is the king of the cups, it is unbelievable what he is doing. But give me a bit of time to prepare it properly."
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson echoed those sentiments as he added: "They've knocked out good sides. They're a very good team and it will be a difficult tie. We need to be ready to give it everything and hopefully we can progress to the final.
"We want to do our best in every competition. We want to give a big push to compete in all of them."
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