Jurgen Klopp has dismissed the idea that Liverpool have a dream Champions League semi-final draw as they prepare to face Villarreal in the next stage of their quest for an unprecedented quadruple.
The Reds, who host the Spaniards for the first leg at Anfield on Wednesday, are potentially nine games away from becoming the first side to win the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup.
Victory over the Yellow Submarine would mean a third Champions League final in five seasons for Klopp’s men.
The German urged his players and the Anfield crowd to show the same level of desire they demonstrated in a famous 4-0 win against Barcelona in the second leg of the 2019 semi-final — the last time they lifted the trophy.
“So many coaches, so many players out there try and work their socks off their whole life and have no chance to be in a Champions League semi-final,” Klopp said on Tuesday.
“We are there so we have to cherish that, we have to appreciate of course but we have to enjoy it as well.”
Villarreal sit seventh in La Liga, nine points adrift of the top four with just five games to play.
– Shocks –
However, Unai Emery’s men have shocked Juventus and Bayern Munich to reach the last four and won their first ever-major trophy when beating Manchester United in last season’s Europa League final.
“They’re made for this competition to be honest because the way they set it up it’s really, really good,” warned Klopp.
“Maybe you (the media) underestimated them, but that has never happened to us and especially after these four games (against Juventus and Bayern) there’s no chance.
“They’re a really good football team who obviously wants to make history as well. It will be the first time for them to get to a final, which is a massive thing for Villarreal.
“That is for us the same. The same importance. We want to be there and that’s what we have to show them. ”
Liverpool have been stung by Emery in the past — his Sevilla side won the Europa League final 3-1 in Klopp’s first season in England.
Since then, the Reds have lifted their sixth European Cup and ended a 30-year wait to win the English top-flight title.
Jordan Henderson, who was in the Liverpool squad for the Europa League final in Basel, believes it was an important step on their journey under Klopp.
“It felt as though he knew that this was the beginning and the start of something special,” said Henderson.
“As a player, it’s very difficult to think that when you’ve just lost the final, but I always felt he was very different to what I would have ever seen before.
“He sort of knew what was coming in the next few years and I feel as though with what he has produced, it is proven that was the beginning of something special.”