Villarreal seek perfection to beat near flawless Liverpool, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Villarreal seek perfection to beat near flawless Liverpool

VALENCIA (REUTERS) - Villarreal aim to rekindle the spirit that saw off Juventus and Bayern Munich when they bid to overturn a 2-0 deficit in their Champions League semi-final, second leg against Liverpool on Tuesday (May 3).

A 2-1 La Liga loss to lowly Alaves was not ideal preparation and coach Unai Emery knows how hard it will be to beat Liverpool, who have lost only three matches this season in all competitions and none by more than two goals.

"We will need a perfect game to achieve what no other team in Europe accomplished against Liverpool this season," Emery, who has an 84 per cent success rate as a coach in European knockout ties since 2010, told a news conference on Monday.

"Overturning a two-goal deficit is already complicated against any rivals and much more when your opponent is a team that is almost flawless. We benefit that away goals are not worth double any more so it gives us more freedom to attack.

"Home advantage there was key and I hope it work the same for us here. We need to be impeccable on defence, better than in Anfield. And we need to find our game, something that we have not achieved in the first leg."

After eliminating former champions Juventus in the last 16 and Bayern in the quarter-finals, the former Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal manager believes his team are capable of delivering another shock.

"I want my players and the fans to face the challenge with pride," the Spaniard said.

"Football is about feelings, and we feel a great connection to our fan base, being from a small industrial town. I truly believe we have what it takes to present Liverpool something they didn't experience this season so far."

Defender Pau Torres, born a few kilometres from Villarreal's training facility, echoed his coach's upbeat mood.

"There is no ideal script to a game like this. We need one goal to get us back at the fight and that's what we need to look for," Torres said.

"It doesn't matter how it is achieved. We need a goal at any time and the tie will be open again. That's our mantra."

A fightback is something Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is wary of, saying the Reds have only got half the job done and must be prepared for the worst against Emery's team at Estadio de la Ceramica.

"We didn't win the games by sitting deep and counter-attacking," the German told reporters on Monday.

"We tried to play as ourselves and we have to do that again. We have to be ready to suffer and sit back in moments, but not as a general approach."

Liverpool have lost only once this year as they seek an unprecedented quadruple of trophies.

"We must've done something right in the last few months. The problem now is everything is perfect, then the next game we start on the wrong foot and all of a sudden the game is different," Klopp said.

"We know we're in a good moment. But... what do you do if you lose 2-0 away? Why should I think about the past?

"Let's say Villarreal have the first shot on target, the crowd goes up for each challenge... that's how it is."

Klopp added that "maturity and experience" will be important but not decisive factors.

"They will try to play much more football than we allowed them in the first game," he added.

"Unai will surely try to adapt a few things. It will be really interesting. Maturity is important but not the only thing."

Klopp also said forward Roberto Firmino has started running again after a foot injury but was still experiencing pain and will not play in the match.

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