Jurgen Klopp was in no mood to give away his secrets ahead of Liverpool’s Europa League clash against Villarreal.
The German gave a press conference ahead of the semi-final first leg, held in Spain on Thursday, and was asked a tactical question by one reporter.
“How do you plan to stop Villarreal strikers Roberto Soldado and Cedric Bakambu?”
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Did the reporter really expect a legitimate response, as if Klopp was just going to divulge his gameplan for Villarreal?
If he did, he didn’t get one. The Liverpool boss showed his funny side with a satirical response.
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“To avoid passes to them - maybe that’s the best idea,” he said, per the Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce.
Despite the ridiculous question, Klopp certainly needs to be wary of the Villarreal duo. Soldado and Bakambu have combined to score 30 goals this season and will prove a threat to a Liverpool defence that has its cracks.
It took Dejan Lovren’s last-minute header to send the Reds through to the semi-final. The 5-4 aggregate win over Borussia Dortmund instantly earned Klopp a cult hero status at Anfield but he wants to experience plenty more memorable European nights.
He added: “When I came in October, Basel (the location of next month’s final) wasn’t a real thing to think about. Now, it’s not far away.”
Not at all. Liverpool are just two games away from their first European final since the 2007 Champions League final.
Villarreal aren't to be taken lightly
They must overcome a Villarreal team that has produced some impressive displays in the Europa League, knocking out Bayer Leverkusen in the last-16 and beating Sparta Prague 6-3 on aggregate in the next round.
Klopp has been scouting the Spanish club and noticed a team aiming to capitalise on errors.
"We've watched Villarreal 5 or 6 times,” he said. “They defend in an organised way. Patient enough to wait for mistakes & then use those mistakes."
Ex-Red Fernando Morientes issued a warning to Klopp, insisting that Marcelino’s side are a “team to be feared”.
“For me, Villarreal is one of the best teams in La Liga at the moment. They have real quality,” Morientes said, per the Liverpool Echo.
"Everyone said they are the best team for Liverpool to face in the last four, but they are ahead of [holders and fellow semi-finalists] Sevilla in La Liga and a better side.
“They play very good football. They have a very strong mentality and the coach always tries to attack. It’s always the same. They are a team to be feared – a very good team who will play in the Champions League next season for sure, and will do well in the competition.”