VILLARREAL, Spain — Liverpool knows higher than most that nothing is kind of so dangerous within the Champions League as assuming a matter is settled. There was a reason Jürgen Klopp didn’t offer Anfield his usual euphoric, chest-thumping celebration after beating Villarreal, 2-0, last week. No one should make the error of considering Liverpool’s place in the ultimate is secure.
Villarreal will, as its manager Unai Emery said, need to supply the “perfect game” to forestall Klopp from guiding Liverpool to a 3rd final in five years, nevertheless it has reason for hope: Bayern Munich lost to Villarreal on the Estadio de la Ceramica within the quarterfinals; Gerard Moreno, the centerpiece of its attack, must be back within the team despite an injury; and it’s going to have the ability to count on a boisterous, unyielding home crowd.
Villarreal, a quiet, well-heeled kind of a spot on the outskirts of the commercial town of Castellon, doesn’t make for an obvious bear pit. It has spent many of the day bathing in a torrential downpour. Its streets, even a few hours before kickoff, were peaceful, the one noise generated by fans of each teams cheerily trading songs.
However it is, as Emery said, a fiercely loyal place: most shop windows have been decked out in yellow and blue for the occasion. Because the cliché goes, roughly half the town’s population will likely be within the stadium to observe Emery’s team try to tug off a miracle. One other miracle, that’s: The primary is Villarreal, a team from a town of this size, being here in the primary place. Emery’s team could have to be perfect. But all it takes is a goal, and excellent doesn’t seem unimaginable. Klopp, and Liverpool, know that higher than most.