Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists “nothing has happened yet” despite a 2-0 Champions League semi-final win over Villarreal giving them a significant advantage for next week’s second leg in Spain.
The scoreline did not reflect the pattern of the game, which Klopp’s side dominated from the first minute to the last in what was a more comfortable tie than they could have expected.
But after a goalless first half, in which the Reds attempted 12 shots, the match was won in the space of 133 seconds.
Jordan Henderson’s cross deflected in for a Pervis Estupinan own goal and was quickly followed by Sadio Mane’s 20th strike of the campaign.
Liverpool have now won nine matches in the Champions League this season, a club record for a single campaign, and in doing so they equalled the landmark of 43 victories in a season set in 2019-20.
But Klopp will not allow complacency to creep in as they chase an unprecedented quadruple.
“It is a dangerous scoreline. How much work is left to do? The full work is still to do. Nothing has happened yet,” he said.
“To be 2-0 at half-time you have to be 100 percent in the right mood and play the second half like we played the first half.
“We know the other game will be a tricky atmosphere for us. These [Villarreal] players saw that tonight, this coach, they fight for it with all they have.
“And what I like is that we also fight with all we have. It’s always the same. If they beat us with a result that takes them to the final, then they deserve it; if not, then we deserve it. That’s how the competition is.
“But everyone could see we fought with all we have. We played a really good game, now in six days we play again and we have to make sure we are ready.
“We are 2-0 up and that’s better than before the game but we know we’re not through. So keep going, no problem.”
Villarreal boss Unai Emery, whose only victory in seven attempts over Klopp came when he was in charge of Sevilla for the 2016 Europa League final, admitted his side escaped with a two-goal defeat.
“They were better than us, they have been better over the 90 minutes,” he said.
“We wanted to play a better game, create better chances on goal for ourselves, but we needed to be on the defensive a lot.
“We wanted to win, we weren’t able to. We wanted to draw, we weren’t able to.
“We wanted to keep the scoreline down to 1-0 and we didn’t. We wanted to get on the scoresheet and we weren’t able to do that.
“We didn’t create any chances at all, we never got near their goal. Two-nil is a clear, obvious result, a deserved result.
“It could have been a worse hill to climb. The only thing now is 2-0 still gives us a chance to have a different performance at home. We are still alive.”