Former Arsenal midfielder Robert Pires has warned Liverpool ahead of their Champions League semi-final second leg clash against Villarreal, which is taking place at the Estadio de la Ceramica tonight.
The Reds defeated the La Liga side 2-0 at Anfield last week. With that being the case, Liverpool are the clear favourites to progress to the final.
“This team is not eliminated, far from it. I played a semi-final with Arsenal and we also had an advantage, so we hoped to get through without suffering. And the reality was very different,” he told AS, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo.
“Of course Villarreal can go through. We know how complicated it is, we cannot deny that. We know the level of Liverpool and their quality, they are very good and very strong. But Villarreal has not said the last word.
“For me, Liverpool is the best in Europe at the moment and that makes it a great challenge. For this reason, Villarreal, which is a very solid team, suffered a lot in the first leg. But they came out alive, they are alive. And knowing Emery and the quality of this team, I wouldn’t be comfortable.”
Anfield Watch Verdict
We do expect Villarreal to play with plenty of aggression tonight. The reality is, they have nothing to lose. Therefore, we do agree with Pires that Villarreal could potentially stage a comeback.
However, Liverpool should be confident of progressing to the final. The Reds have made two Champions League finals (2018 and 2019) under the guidance of Jurgen Klopp.
In other words, Liverpool know how to win big football matches. But, only time will tell which side will come out on top.
Tonight's clash will kick-off at 8pm BST.