Liverpool/Castellon, Apr 26 (EFE).- Villarreal travel to Anfield for only their second-ever Champions League semifinal appearance on Wednesday against an in-form Liverpool team that is on course for an historic quadruple.
With the odds firmly stacked against the side affectionately known as the Yellow Submarine, the Spanish club will be hoping to frustrate the six-time European champions and keep the tie close for the second leg back at the Estadio de la Cerámica.
To that end, the Spanish club will have to repeat the performances that led to upsets over European powerhouses such as Juventus and Bayern Munich on their way to the last-4.
“We are here with the certainty that we deserve to be here and of being able to compete in these semifinals with one of the main favorites that is Liverpool due to their great form and (Jurgen) Klopp’s project of the last several years,” Villarreal coach Unai Emery said on Tuesday at a press conference on the eve of the match.
“We believe in ourselves (…) Getting this far is not a journey that we are going to take for granted. We want to have our chances, we are playing against a team that in normal conditions may be superior to us, but we have our individual and collective mechanisms to be able to compete,” he stressed.
Emery, however, knows the task will not be easy against the 2018-2019 champions which, besides competing for the Champions League title, are only one point behind Premier League leaders Manchester City and are in the final of the FA Cup. The Reds already secured the League Cup in March.
“We are in the best moment for Liverpool. It is a team that has grown from the patience and leadership of its coach, it is a Liverpool like of his coach, with a smile, with joy, with energy”, he added.
Liverpool’s coach Jurgen Klopp, for his part, also showered the Spaniard with praise: “I had a lot of respect for Unai Emery and Villarreal before, but now I watch them properly and wow, impressive”.
“Unai looks like a detailed obsessed manager who prepares for all situations and that’s what his team is executing.
“Really impressive, and Unai is a world-class coach and is doing a great job there,” he added. EFE