Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has shrugged off any notion that his side’s name is on the Europa League trophy after their stunning quarter-final second-leg comeback against former club Dortmund.
The Reds face La Liga outfit Villarreal at the Estadio El Madrigal in the first leg of their semi-final clash on Thursday with memories of their stirring fightback in the last round still fresh in the mind.
Centre-half Dejan Lovren netted a last-gasp winner as Liverpool recovered from an apparently hopeless position to win 4-3 on the night, although Klopp insists there are no guarantees the Anfield club will reach the final in Basel on 18 May.
“Experience is nothing to talk about. It’s not to buy or collect, it’s something you build, you get and use,” said Klopp. “But if you use it in the wrong way then it’s bullshit – then you don’t need it.
“The Europa League is our best route to a trophy. We must focus.”
Striker Christian Benteke has provided Klopp with a fitness boost after returning to full training earlier this week following a month out with knee ligament damage. Klopp’s attacking options have been dented by a “serious injury” to Divock Origi.
“For us, it’s perfect that he’s back. We only have players here in Villarreal who are ready to play a part, there are no tourists,” added Klopp.
Centre-half Mamadou Sakho, meanwhile, is not expected to play again this season after deciding against challenging the results of the drugs test he failed following Liverpool’s European victory over Manchester United on 17 March.