If Liverpool win the Europa League, they will have done it the hard way.
They looked down and out against Borussia Dortmund at Anfield in the quarter-finals, needing three goals in 24 minutes.
They miraculous managed that but now face another difficult task to make the final in Basel on May 18. Jurgen Klopp’s men conceded an injury-time goal to lose 1-0 to Villarreal in the first-leg of their semi-final clash, meaning another comeback is required on Merseyside.
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Liverpool had chances to win the match with Roberto Firmino coming closest as he struck a post in the second-half. But failure to score an away goal means, if the Reds concede next week, they will need to score three times.
Losing in the last-minute is always tough to take but at least Liverpool have the consolation of being able to hit back next week. And midfielder Adam Lallana revealed that his manager urged the players to quickly forget about their heartbreaking defeat and look forward to, what is sure to be, another incredible atmosphere at Anfield.
What Klopp said
“The manager told us: 'do not worry,’” the midfielder said, per the Liverpool Echo.
“Be disappointed for five minutes but no longer - wait until we get them back home.
“He told us that we have got the fans and then he said: 'we will make it another magical night next week.’"
Lallana continued: “It would have been easy to get deflated. It's only natural that we are disappointed after conceding in injury time. But we are over it. The manager told us we have to be.
“I keep thinking about Dortmund and what happened then. The fans have got a massive role to play.
“We are going to make it a rocking atmosphere and we will get the two goals that we need. The manager has told us that they are there for the taking,” he added.
Lallana looking forward to next week
While the Spanish side are now slight favourites to progress, you wouldn’t rule out Liverpool from overturning the deficit. Lallana feels that, despite the result, it was a good display from his side and has admitted that he is already looking forward to the return fixture.
"On another day, we nick it 1-0. It's almost a brilliant away performance,” Lallana said.
“Even 0-0 would have been a great result to take back to Anfield.
“But listen, these things happen. We still have massive confidence about taking them back to Anfield. It will be a completely different game.
“We are still in the tie. We will have a right good go next week. Anfield will be bouncing. Trust me, I cannot wait for next week,” he added.
The Europa League is the only remaining focus for the club this season. Liverpool have very little chance of achieving a top-four finish in the Premier League and winning the competition is their only opportunity to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Kopites will be hoping for another famous European night under the lights in their own stadium but they will, probably, be wishing it’s not quite as dramatic as the Dortmund match.
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