Klopp issues Anfield warning as Villearreal beat Liverpool
Late goal gives Spaniards the edge, but Reds boss expects a 'completely different game' at Anfield
Villarreal 1 Liverpool 0
An injury time goal from substitute Adrian Lopez has dented Liverpool's chances of reaching their first European final since 2007.
After 90 minutes of a tense and sometimes dour football the Reds appersed to have done enough to nullify the threat of their hosts in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final, but two minutes into injury time Villarreal found the breakthrough, when Lopez fired home Denis Suarez's low cross.
It was tough on Liverpool but they had only themselves to blame after left-back Alberto Moreno wandered out of position, allowing former Manchester City youngster Suarez to pick out Lopez for the goal that gives the Spaniards the advantage ahead of the return leg at Anfield next Thursday.
"If we had enough players around the box it was no problem but they played this one chip ball over Kolo Toure," complained Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. "I don't know where Alberto [Moreno] was in this moment but that was the only big mistake we made in this game and they scored with it."
Klopp selected a starting XI with defence in mind, the German leaving Daniel Sturridge on the bench, and the Reds barely had a shot on goal the entire match. The closest they came to scoring was when Roberto Firmino's low shot hit the post in the second-half, and Villarreal also acquainted themselves with the upright thanks to Cedric Bakambu's header.
Declaring himself "pleased with a lot of the performance", Klopp appeared to have been a little riled by Villarreal's reaction at the final whistle, and the German issued a warning to the Spaniards. “My first thought when everyone was celebrating around me was 'sorry, this is not over yet, you still have to come to Anfield, too'. And we will be ready.
“I'm more or less as confident as I was before the game. Now we have to find solutions for a few things but I saw a lot of things that suggested that with the help of Anfield that things are still possible... It will be a completely different game."
Nonetheless Villarreal fans were gracious in the welcome they extended to their visitors, the supporters holding aloft a giant banner bearing the number 96, a reference to the number of Liverpool fans who lost their lives at Hillsborough. It was the Reds first match since a court ruled earlier in the week that the 96 fans had been killed unlawfully.
With the other Europa League semi-final between Sevilla and Shakhtar Donetsk finishing all-square at 2-2, the two matches are finely poised, and Klopp promised that Liverpool will give it their all in the second leg: "If you go out in the semis," he told reporters, "then do so kicking and screaming."