Liverpool train ahead of Villarreal clash
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Heading into the Champions League semi-final second leg tie clash with Villarreal, Liverpool need to remember Jurgen Klopp’s famous “mentality giants” praise. Liverpool turned around a Champions League semi-final second leg 3-0 deficit against Barcelona in classy fashion back in 2019, as they went on to win 4-3 and reached the final.
Despite having a foot in the Champions League final after sealing a 2-0 win over the Unai Emery’s side last week, the Reds need to keep the same mentality as they fiercely battle for the quadruple this season. However, winning the Premier League may be out of their control, given direct rivals’ Manchester City bang in form and leading at the summit by a single point.
Even if City don’t slip up until the end of the season, the Reds still have a real chance of securing an incredible treble, having already won the League Cup against Chelsea back in February. The FA Cup and the Champions League are very much in their reach, albeit a hectic fixture between now and then.
The month of May doesn’t get more historic than that, with it deciding Liverpool’s fate in their trophies pursuit. Between now and their FA Cup final clash with Chelsea on May 14, Klopp’s side will compete three times in the space of a week: Villarreall, Tottenham and Aston Villa.
If this Liverpool side are to repeat history, they must remember one of Klopp’s previous warnings. After they overcome a 3-0 deficit to a top-class Barcelona side, going on to win 4-3 while keeping a clean sheet in the process, the German boss said: “The whole performance and the whole game was actually too much. It was overwhelming.
“I’ve watched so many football games in my life and I cannot remember a lot like this, playing against maybe the best team in the world. Winning is already difficult, but winning with a clean sheet…I don’t know how the boys did it. These boys are f****** mentality giants, it’s unbelievable. It’s all about the players, though. The mix of potential and unbelievable heart is a mix I never saw before. It just show what’s possible in football.”
With such a heavy fixture schedule coming up, the time is now for Liverpool’s players to thrive off Klopp’s “mentality monsters” words in order to avoid slipping up under pressure. There are hurdles to conquer in their quest to create history, and only some are able to deal with the enormous pressure.
Liverpool’s season will be defined, as the cliche says, by seven finals coming up. The next is at Estadio de la Ceramica, where Villarreal have only lost twice this season, winning 10 and drawing five. Their home ground has been their fortress in front of their own fans.
They are also strong contenders for an European finish, currently seventh place and just four points off the top-six, occupied by Real Sociedad. Top goal scorer Arnaut Danjuma has scored 16 goals while assisting four in his 34 appearances across all competitions this season. Just at home he netted nine of those 16 goals.
Then arguably Liverpool’s toughest game in their Premier League schedule, a home meeting with Spurs will follow. Antonio Conte’s side have shown consistency in recent weeks, having previously won four on the bounce and cementing a top-five place, with Manchester United sitting sixth, six points behind. The side’s battling spirit has so far heaped rewards and they could create problems for the Reds. Before a trip to Aston Villa on May 10. The former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard could play a key role in the Reds’ title hopes with the Villans being on a mixed run of late – it will be interesting to see what the outcome is.
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