What did Jurgen Klopp say?
At his pre-match press conference, the Liverpool manager said, “We did a proper analysis. I had a lot of respect for Unai Emery and Villarreal before because I saw the games but only with one eye.”
“Meanwhile, I (have) now watched them properly and wow, impressive!
“Unai is obviously a detail-obsessed manager who prepares for all different situations in the game and that is what his team executes.
“It’s really, really good, different ways to build up and press and react. Really impressive.
“Unai is a world-class coach and is doing an incredible job there. The good thing is we are not involved in all the games.
“Our job is to make life as difficult as possible for them and that is what we try to do over these two legs.”
He also talked about what he expects from Villarreal over the two legs and said, “I can’t answer a lot about the domestic form. They are seventh in the league, and on a pretty good run of results.”
“After they won the quarter-final against [team 503], in between they played ( [team 13258] ) and Unai changed 11 times and they drew there.
“Then after that, they won against [team 214], who were in the cup final.
“If they played the season longer, they probably would end up in the [league 2] spots but that is how it is in Spain, it is very competitive. It is a difficult league to play in and be successful in.
“Unai shows he has a plan for each result, whether you are 0-0, 1-0 up, 1-0 down, more possession, less possession.
“Even if they are not winning, they are close. That is really impressive and it is a tough competition and we need exactly that, a plan for each possible result.
“First go for it, then deal with it.”
Will Liverpool’s right side be Emery’s target?
[team 3477] have surprised the football world with what they have achieved this season. Not to forget, they won the [league 5] last season. They defeated [team 19] and [team 14] in the semi-final and the final.
[coach 455907] has displayed a high level of tactical adaptability and superb coaching. He is arguably the best example right now of the definition of a coach, which says, ‘getting the best out of what you have got.’ I am saying that with the utmost respect for the players and the coaching staff.
However, Wednesday night’s challenge will probably be the hardest of Emery’s Villareal career. They will face arguably the most in-form team in Europe with Klopp in the dugout. The first leg will be taking place at Anfield, making it an improbable task for the away side. Of course, it’s possible, but the possibility is slim.
In the press conference, [coach 455353] was spot on when he said that Emery is great at adapting to different situations. Villareal can play possession-based football, but they are also effective when playing a low-block and attacking through counterattacks. Against [team 8], a mid-block or a low-block is a high possibility and counterattacking with pace will be necessary to exploit Klopp’s high line.
In this extremely well drilled and excellent Liverpool team, one weakness is the right side of their defence. [player 1917] has improved massively on his defence in the last couple of seasons, but there are times when he is exposed. Also, Liverpool’s high line, which works in great cohesion, is broken by teams with midfielders good on the ball.
It will be a great tactical battle at Anfield, with Villarreal likely on the back foot. However, with the pace of [player 26491], Villarreal have the ability to get in behind Liverpool and cause issues.
Villarreal’s strength is their left side when it comes to attacking. [player 1988] and [player 97664]’s passing range will be a significant weapon for Emery’s side. Danjuma’s pace will also be required to hurt Liverpool. Defensively, Villarreal are a solid side and have a mixture of experience and youth in their backline.
Villarreal have been a tremendously inspiring team this season. A lot of neutral viewers will love the Spanish side to complete the dream. However, this game at Anfield will be a proper test for Emery and his men.
Fixture Details: [fixture 18509784]
Author: Devashish Akolekar