Although Villarreal managed to finish the second leg against Liverpool as a 3-3 draw, the Reds booked a spot in the final four of the Champions League as they get set to face Villarreal. Liverpool defeated Benfica 6-4 aggregate.
“We are facing one of the best teams in the world,” Benfico Nelson Verrissimo said prior to the match. “We will have to be effective and consistent when attacking, and take into account Liverpool’s strategy.”
Liverpool have reached the semi-final of the European Cup/Champions League for a 12th time; no English club has reached the last four more times.
“Yeah it’s great, absolutely great (to reach the semi-finals),” Klopp said after the second leg. “Never happen that I take something like this for granted. I’m really, really happy.”
Liverpool are just one round away from playing in their third Champions League final under Jurgen Klopp.
“I know we will talk about the game, the things that happened, the goals we conceded and all these things but on the day when I’m not over the moon about qualifying for the Champions League semi-finals then something’s really wrong and maybe it would be the right time to quit,” Klopp added.
Benfica clearly made the necessary adjustment as they countered seemingly every chance they got, not to mention their aggressiveness on the back line.
“We didn’t go through in the quarter-finals of an important competition but even so I think the team have to be proud of what they have done,” Verrissimo added. “Liverpool happens to be one of the best, biggest teams in the world and we knew it would be a steep mountain to get to the semi-finals but we believed it was possible. There aren’t any moral victories, they don’t exist.”
Liverpool will face Villarreal in the semi-finals, with the first leg to be played April 26/27, and second legs on May 3/May 4.
“When you defend in Champions League quarter-finals, it is about details,” Klopp explained. “I didn’t see the offside situations back but it’s part of defending to put the opponent offside. Tonight it didn’t work out too well but that is my fault because I made seven changes. The next problem we had is we were 3-1 up, on aggregate 6-2. It’s an incredible busy period. Some of the boys didn’t play for a while 90 minutes.”
Liverpool does have some big-time fixtures ahead of their matchup vs Villarreal. They will face title rivals Manchester City again on Saturday at Wembley for the FA Cup semi-final.