Villarreal just gave Liverpool a quadruple advantage as Jürgen Klopp passed a major test
The juxtaposition between Jürgen Klopp’s expression at the end of the first half and the end of the second will have summed up the roller coaster of emotions experienced by Liverpool during their return match at the Estadio de la Cerámica.
Even before a ball had been kicked, the deluge of rain had cast a gloomy outlook on a Spanish town that was usually bathed in sunshine. But rather than sour the mood of the locals, it only sparked even louder support in the stands. In the first half, the ground became a bubbling cauldron of emotion.
Never had Liverpool produced such a disconcerting game of incompetence. The Liverpool side that went out in the first half felt oddly foreign to the full-back fans who have grown accustomed to seeing this season. There was something distinctly un-Liverpool about the way Jürgen Klopp’s side gave the ball away on the cheap and lacked the ruthlessness to pressure the opposition.
READ MORE:Fabio Carvalho is a hint of what’s to come for Liverpool as FSG summer transfer plan clear
READ MORE: Jürgen Klopp gave a Champions League masterclass to give Liverpool an exciting glimpse into the future
When Thiago Alcântara misplaces passes left, right and through, you just know it’s not your night. At half-time, the only solace left for Liverpool was that surely after such a performance things couldn’t get any worse – the only way was to go up.
Klopp’s decision to bring in Luis Díaz turned the game around completely. It was the only trick left in his pocket, and Klopp’s Hail Mary did the job.
Liverpool can sigh with relief. They had played a long and grueling season, but perhaps none of their games have been as arduous and difficult as this one against Villareal. Both mentally and physically they were shaken up in the first half and the atmosphere reduced them to a performance that created an uphill battle in the second half.
To bounce back takes a lot of courage and physical stamina and overcoming this challenge will give Liverpool the confidence to boost them further in their quest for a four-fold.
There are still plenty of important games to play and the small question of a potential Premier League title on the line, but the odds won’t be weighed against their favor as much as this match – no stadium will be as hungry as this stadium in ruin their party. Liverpool will face their Champions League opponents on equal footing at the end of May.
The Reds will leave Villareal knowing they are already in the history books. No English team has ever reached the final of the two domestic tournaments (League Cup and FA Cup) and the Champions League.
This feat won’t mean much if there’s no more silverware to raise at the end of the season, but it’s the kind of incentive that will give these players all the more determination to s make sure they do.
A game later, Liverpool have just six to become Eternals, and their biggest hurdle may now be behind them.