Klopp fires up Liverpool faithful to create another Anfield cauldron
Published 05/05/2016 | 02:30
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has warned Villarreal they will not know what has hit them when they enter Anfield's cauldron tonight.
Liverpool's Europa League campaign has been driven by emotion, and Klopp - hunting an 11th European final for the club - again sought to stir passions with a pointed reminder of the Spanish side's premature triumphalism.
Klopp says he was surprised by the excessive reaction to Adrian Lopez's late winner at El Madrigal a week ago, suggesting the Villarreal coach Marcelino ought to be cautious about heading to Anfield with such a narrow lead.
"If we can create - with our game - a similar atmosphere as we did against Dortmund, then it will be much more difficult for Villarreal than they imagine in this moment," said Klopp.
"It's another atmosphere, another game. I do not know what they know about Anfield.
"They scored in the last minute of the game to make it 1-0 and if you don't celebrate then there's something wrong. So it's not a big surprise that they celebrated like this. It's more about when my colleague said after the game that 1-0 was the result he dreamed of.
"The only thing I felt at this moment was half-time. Nothing happened, you have to come to Anfield. It was what I felt and I'm still feeling this."
Having only assumed control of the side in October, and continued to work with a squad he inherited, Klopp is eager to grasp the unlikeliest of opportunities to win a ninth European trophy at Anfield.
"How I understand football is forget everything that went before - don't think about after the game - just focus and do whatever you can. Fight for your life," said Klopp. "This is a specific game where this mood fits perfectly. It is a wonderful opportunity. Two and a half weeks ago, after we were drawn to play Dortmund, nobody really expected we would go through.
"When people saw Dortmund they said 'Oh my God' and thought we would go out in the quarter-final. We showed it is possible.
"It is only an opportunity. A big opportunity. It is something like a dream and we want to make it through. I am really happy about this with these hard-working boys.
"We did wonderful things throughout this season and we did a few not so good things. Everything we did until now was to be perfectly prepared for a game like this. Everything is like it should be. It is a semi-final, it is difficult.
"Maybe everyone will expect from the first second that we need to be on fire and we will press them in their own half.
"Hopefully we can surprise them a little bit, but it is about playing smart. We will be really well prepared for this game.
"We know what is necessary. We know their strength and we know our strength. Our skill, quality, passion and readiness with the atmosphere of Anfield."
Throughout the European campaign Klopp has issued several rallying cries, a reflection, perhaps, that a team toiling in eighth place in the Premier League need all the help they can get. The reputation of the venue currently exceeds that of his team, but the players have delivered in Europe.
"I have not enough words to describe the support. It is one of the things in life you cannot buy," said Klopp. "It is most special. The main thing in football is the moment when you are all together. I saw some videos of how our fans celebrated our fourth goal (against Dortmund).
"It's a moment - it's only football - but this for the whole Liverpool world. Everyone will watch it, or listen on radio or follow on the internet. To know this is no pressure. .
"It's not that I always expect wonders from us or the crowd in difficult close games, but we all felt how big the influence is of an outstanding atmosphere and in this week everybody could be in the perfect mood."
Klopp's selection is helped by the return of midfielder Emre Can from an ankle injury.
The key decision is whether Daniel Sturridge starts having sat out the first leg, Klopp assessing whether to reshuffle in midfield to enable the England striker to take his place. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
Liverpool v Villarreal, Live, Setanta Ire & BT Sport Europe 8.05