Klopp details half-time team talk after Liverpool come from behind at Villarreal
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Liverpool hero Jamie Carragher has claimed Reds boss Jurgen Klopp was “lying” when he said he didn’t mind who his side faced in the Champions League final. Liverpool booked their place in the showpiece event on Tuesday night as they secured a 5-2 aggregate win over Villarreal in Spain.
Liverpool held the upper hand in the semi-final after winning the first-leg 2-0 at Anfield. But they were well off the pace in the opening period at the Estadio de la Ceramica and went behind in the third minute as Boulaye Dia converted Etienne Capoue’s pass. And former Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin then levelled the tie as he headed home another delivery from Capoue.
The Reds looked stunned but regrouped at the break as Luis Diaz was brought on to replace Diogo Jota. And the January signing was in inspired form as his goal midway through the second half was sandwiched between strikes from Fabinho and Sadio Mane as the Reds ultimately kept their hopes of a historic quadruple alive.
Liverpool will face either Manchester City or Real Madrid in the Paris final later this month. The winner of the second semi-final will be decided on Wednesday night when the Citizens take a 4-3 aggregate lead to the Bernabeu Stadium. But Klopp insisted he had no preference about which side progress.
“Yes I will be watching but I don’t mind who we get,” Klopp said after seeing his team dispatch Villarreal. “Whoever it is it is going to be massive.”
Carragher, however, thinks the German wasn’t being honest. “I think he’s lying,” Carragher said when asked if he thought Klopp knew who he wanted to face. “I am pretty certain he’d prefer Real Madrid.”
Liverpool famously came up against Real in the 2018 Champions League final but endured a night to forget as they suffered an agonising 3-1 defeat. Reds goalkeeper Loris Karius made two appalling errors which led to goals, while Mohamed Salah was forced off with a shoulder injury midway through the first half following a tussle with Sergio Ramos.
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Klopp led the Merseysiders to the Champions League trophy in 2019, before guiding his team to Premier League and Club World Cup success the following year. And they could win four trophies this season as they are just one point behind Manchester City in the Premier League table with four matches remaining and have already lifted the Carabao Cup and booked their place in the FA Cup final.
And Carragher has extolled Klopp, who signed a new Liverpool contract last month, for the impact he’s had at the club. “Who knows what Liverpool will have won in four years’ time,” said the former defender. “He is going to be remembered as one of the greatest managers in Liverpool’s history and one of the greatest figures in Liverpool’s history right up there with the great managers.”
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