Villarreal boss Marcelino Garcia Toral believes the electric atmosphere at Anfield will serve as inspiration for his side to perform at the highest level.
The Yellow Submarine travel to Liverpool with a slender 1-0 advantage going into the second leg. When asked about the charged atmosphere at Anfield and how it might affect his team, Marcelino said that the occasion would serve as a reminder of how far the club have come from their dark relegation days only four seasons ago.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference ahead of the game, the Villarreal manager said: “It is a real pleasure to play here. We come here full of hope, we are going to give everything we have got and we will enjoy ourselves. We feel we have the capabilities to make it through to the final.
“This group of players needs to be proud of what they have achieved as we are already qualified for the Champions’ League.”
“This is an occasion to be celebrated. In no way whatsoever will we be affected negatively by the atmosphere, if anything we will be affected positively and galvanised by it.The game will be decided by the team who are more assured at key moments in the game.”
The Villarreal boss also highlighted the gulf in spending power between the two clubs, claiming that his club’s annual turnover is about the same amount the Reds paid to acquire the services of Christian Benteke. “Liverpool as a club have an extraordinary squad of footballers when you consider Benteke cost 50m euros which equates to the whole turnover of Villarreal as a club,” he said.
Divock Origi close to return from injury
Origi, who has been out since Liverpool’s 4-0 drubbing of Everton in the Merseyside derby last month, mentioned in an interview to Liverpool FC that he hopes to make a swift return to action before the end of the season. He said, “It’s progressing well. It’s been ten days now so I try and improve every day and make steps, we just try and [ensure that] I’m back as quick as possible.”
The young striker acknowledged the support of fans, claiming it plays a big role in motivating players to get back from injury as soon as possible. The Belgian has become an Anfield favourite owing to his terrific run of form and big match performances.
Liverpool have more positive news regarding injuries, with the likes of Danny Ings and Emre Can returning to full training for the club this week. With all three players making their return after they were potentially ruled out for the rest of the season, Jurgen Klopp has a fair amount of options to choose from as he sets out to field a competitive lineup against Villarreal.