Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool keep quadruple hopes alive | DW | 13.04.2022

Credited by Pep Guardiola as the “greatest rival” of his career, Jürgen Klopp could still be on for his greatest season at Liverpool’s helm as his side kept their quadruple hopes alive. 

Before concluding the quarterfinal tie with Benfica, Klopp warned that the 3-1 first leg win was “as tricky as 2-0. A good basis, but if they score one, the game changes. We really need to make them feel this is a place they don’t want to go.”

Anfield rose to the occasion of another entertaining European night, but so to did Benfica as they left Klopp with a wry smile on his face after the 3-3 draw in the second leg. “I think we’d want to do better,” admitted captain Jordan Henderson on BT Sport

“We could have scored more goals in the first half. We did well but we’re disappointed with the goals we conceded. We knew it would be tough. We wanted to give everything and we’re through, which is the most important thing.”

“Desire is still there”

It’s the third time in the 54-year-old’s near seven-year tenure at the Liverpool helm that his side have reached the UEFA Champions League semifinals, where they will face Villarreal side with two major scalps to their name this season. 

“I obviously saw the results and the game last night, it was very impressive I have to say,” Klopp told BT Sport after the game. “To knock out Juventus and Bayern Munich, you deserve to be in the semifinals.” 

In the meantime, attention will turn back to domestic affairs as Klopp gets set to renew his rivalry with Guardiola for the second time in the space of a week. Last weekend, the sides drew 2-2 for a second time this season in a game heralded as one of the highest quality encounters of the Premier League era. 

It was a result, which left Liverpool trailing Manchester City by a point in the league table, but on Saturday a draw won’t be enough to separate the sides in the FA Cup semifinal as both look to keep their hopes of claiming multiple titles this season alive. 

“The desire is there,” said Diogo Jota. “Obviously we’re still fighting in three competitions. We’re rotating the squad, so everyone feels involved. Now we’re looking forward to facing Manchester City on Saturday.”

Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have been going toe-to-toe since their time together in the Bundesliga

Klopp vs Pep: Four times in one season?

Crucially in midweek, while Atletico Madrid pushed City to their limits, Klopp was able to rotate when Guardiola couldn’t afford to as star forwards Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane were rested against Benfica along with defender Virgil Van Dijk,

“If we would have played the best game of the season tonight, it wouldn’t have made any difference to us reaching the final,” admitted Klopp. “We’ve got through and I’m very happy.”

Liverpool already have one piece of silverware to their name after clinching the League Cup in February. But even if the Reds fail to add to their trophy cabinet this season, their success across all competitions is testament to Klopp’s ability to fashion the kind of longevity that evaded him during his Borussia Dortmund career. 

Guardiola played his part in Klopp’s demise at Dortmund as he laid the foundation for Bayern’s to dominate the Bundesliga. But with the two generational head coaches constantly sharpening each other’s skills with two of the best squads in world football, the rivalry remains a mouth-watering prospect. 

The third rendition of the season is for a place in the FA Cup final in Wembley, the fourth might be for all the marbles in the Champions League – a title Klopp can still hold over the man who calls him his “greatest rival.”

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