Liverpool

Villarreal fright must serve as a warning to Liverpool in quadruple hunt

Tom Gott
Liverpool were given a real scare by Villarreal
Liverpool were given a real scare by Villarreal / Eric Alonso/GettyImages
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For 45 minutes on Tuesday, it looked as though Liverpool's quadruple bid was going up in the most emphatic of flames.

Their 2-0 lead from the first leg of their Champions League semi-final was ruthlessly picked apart by Villarreal, who restored parity with goals from Boulaye Dia and, remarkably, Francis Coquelin in a dominant first half.

Statistically, it was the worst half of football Liverpool have played this season. There were no shots on target and their 66% passing accuracy was the lowest they had managed in any first half this campaign.

They were absolutely battered and deserved whatever hairdryer treatment manager Jurgen Klopp opted to give out. Not only were their quadruple hopes in the balance, but they were being embarrassed by the very side they had thumped just a week earlier.

Whatever Klopp said, it clearly worked as Liverpool came flying out of the blocks, bagged three goals and secured what ends up going down as a comfortable route to the Champions League final.

In truth, it was anything but comfortable, and this must serve as a reminder to Liverpool; if you're striving for an unprecedented four-trophy haul, you cannot afford one single slip-up.

This tie looked over after the first leg, and perhaps complacency snuck in. Perhaps Liverpool had an eye on Saturday's Premier League meeting with Tottenham, but Villarreal proved to Klopp's men that they cannot afford to do that.

At this stage in the season, with so much on the line, anything less than 100% is just not going to cut it. Their bid to go down as the greatest club side of all time is on the line, and such an honour requires near-perfection each and every time you step on the pitch.

For Klopp, the quest now is to figure out what happened in the first half and, more importantly, how to ensure it doesn't happen again.

The showing from this second half - high tempo, aggressive and efficient - is what we've come to expect from Liverpool this season, and those qualities need to be on show for each and every minute between now and the end of the campaign if Liverpool want to write their names in the history books.

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