Jurgen Klopp anticipated the line of questioning and answered before the interviewer could finish when the subject of Liverpool’s Champions League final opponent arose.
Liverpool secured passage to their third Champions League final in five years, though it was far from smooth sailing in Spain. Villarreal halved Liverpool’s aggregate lead inside three minutes and that goal seemed to rattle the Reds.
Andy Robertson and Naby Keita endured torrid first halves and even the calm and collected Thiago Alcantara struggled on what was shaping up to be a season-defining night.
Villarreal went into the break level after scoring their second on the night, but inspired by Luis Diaz, the Reds roared back in the second half. Fabinho, Diaz and Sadio Mane all notched in a complete role reversal from the first 45 minutes.
All eyes will now be on Wednesday’s clash between Man City and Real Madrid to see who Liverpool will face in Paris.
Speaking to BT Sport after the match, Klopp said: “Respect to Villarreal, their team, stadium, coach… unbelievable what they set up and put us under pressure. Man-v-man over the whole pitch. We didn’t play football at all.”
Liverpool were in desperate need of a rallying cry at the break and the German revealed the simple message he imparted.
He continued: “We didn’t get momentum back in the first half. I told the boys, ‘Where’s that momentum? They don’t own it’. We had to start playing football. All of a sudden, when we broke the lines, finding the half-spaces and being more free and more flexible, not fixed on our positions, all of a sudden, we were in the game, scored goals and made it happen.”
BT interviewer Des Kelly then began to ask a question about Wednesday’s semi-final second leg clash between Man City and Real Madrid. Interviewers tend to ask the winner of the first semi-final who they’d like to face in the final – and if they’ll be watching.
Mohamed Salah was asked those very questions in his on-pitch interview and the Egyptian stated he’d like to avenge the 2018 final defeat by squaring off against Real Madrid.
But anticipating the direction the question from Kelly was going, Klopp interjected before he could finish, saying: “Yes, I will watch it! Of course. Whoever it will be, it will be massive.
“Not that I would wish for one or the other. But it will be massive and whoever wins tomorrow night or gets the result will deserve it and we will face each other in Paris.”
- A TeamTalk report