Jürgen Klopp hails Daniel Sturridge after Liverpool conquer Villarreal

• Sturridge ‘outstanding’ as Liverpool reach Europa League final
• ‘They were better than us, I admit,’ says Villarreal coach Marcelino

Jürgen Klopp paid tribute to Daniel Sturridge as Liverpool’s rejuvenated striker took the club to a first European final since 2007. Sturridge scored the second goal in Liverpool’s convincing 3-0 win over Villarreal and was closely involved in the other two, but it was not only his finishing that caught the eye. The England striker put in a superb all-round performance after being kept out of the team in recent weeks, and either by accident or design Klopp appears to have worked out how to bring the best from him.

“Daniel had a great game. When he is fit he is an unbelievable player,” the Liverpool manager said. “He was outstanding for us but even he needs the other players alongside him to play well too. That is what happened tonight, the performance exceeded all my expectations. I have no words to describe it, particularly the power we showed in the first half. It was nice to watch, great to be a part of a night like that.

“At half time I told the players to keep going with the emotional football but maybe use their brains a bit more. I wanted my players to be both emotional and smart, if that makes any sense, and they were.”

Liverpool had other excellent performers in James Milner and Roberto Firmino, though it was the manager’s name the supporters were chanting at the end. “Maybe when I am 50 I will get to like that,” Klopp said. “Until then the fans do not have to sing my name. I am just part of the team, we are all parts of the same team. It was a brilliant display from my boys.”

The Villarreal coach, Marcelino, accepted Liverpool had been the better side and deserved to go through, though he felt their intensity and physicality at times bordered on the illegal. “They pressed us so much it was hard for us to impose ourselves,” he said. “The biggest difference between the two teams was Liverpool’s intensity. They played with such a high tempo, and on the edge of the rules at times, but it was allowed. But they were better than us, I admit. Liverpool are a great side and we have been unlucky enough to catch them in their best moment of the season. There’s not a lot more you can say.”

Sturridge, whose contribution surely answered any lingering questions Roy Hodgson might have had about taking him to France this summer, said he was thrilled to reach a final. “We had to work our socks off and that’s what we did,” he said. “Tonight was about soaking up the atmosphere and putting in a performance. It’s a great feeling to get through to a final like that.”

Adam Lallana, scorer of the third goal to set up a meeting with Sevilla in Basel later this month, said if Liverpool could reproduce that level of performance they need not fear anyone. “We always knew Villarreal could have got the away goal and made things difficult but credit to the lads, they showed great guts,” Lallana said. “It was a brilliant performance, we are reaping the rewards now for hard work earlier in the season. It’s great to be in a final and we fancy ourselves against anyone if we play like that and press like that.”


Paul Wilson at Anfield

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Jürgen Klopp hits back at his critics over Daniel Sturridge Europa snub
Jürgen Klopp says he has no regrets over leaving Daniel Sturridge on the bench as Liverpool went down 1-0 to Villarreal in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final

Mark Dobson

29, Apr, 2016 @9:54 PM

Article image
Jürgen Klopp vows Anfield will be different after late sting in Villarreal
Jürgen Klopp said the Europa League second leg against Villarreal would be ‘completely different’ after losing 1-0 in Spain to a late goal

Andy Hunter in Villarreal

28, Apr, 2016 @11:48 PM

Article image
Daniel Sturridge in line for Liverpool return, says Jürgen Klopp
Daniel Sturridge has received strong support from Jürgen Klopp and could feature for Liverpool at Leicester despite not being involved against them in the Carabao Cup

Paul Wilson

22, Sep, 2017 @9:30 PM

Article image
Jürgen Klopp praises Daniel Sturridge for helping Liverpool to derby victory
Liverpool’s manager, Jürgen Klopp, said his substitute striker Daniel Sturridge ‘helped us a lot in a difficult game’ after the 1-0 victory over Everton

Paul Wilson at Goodison Park

20, Dec, 2016 @12:03 AM

Article image
Jürgen Klopp hopes Anfield aura can inspire Reds comeback against Villarreal | Andy Hunter
Jürgen Klopp has said he is confident Liverpool can fashion another Europa League comeback but warned his team to be wary of Villarreal’s threat and defensive organisation

Andy Hunter

04, May, 2016 @9:41 PM

Article image
Daniel Sturridge settled and ready for ‘something special’ at Liverpool
Daniel Sturridge has said there are no problems between himself and Jürgen Klopp and that he is content at Liverpool with the club on the brink of ‘something special’

Andy Hunter

06, May, 2016 @9:30 PM

Article image
Jürgen Klopp’s prediction comes to pass as Liverpool vanquish Villarreal | Paul Wilson
Jürgen Klopp boldly promised that Villarreal ‘won’t know what’s hit them’ when they visited Anfield, and at times that was precisely how it appeared

Paul Wilson at Anfield

05, May, 2016 @9:19 PM

Article image
Daniel Sturridge and rest of Liverpool squad not for sale, insists Jürgen Klopp
Jürgen Klopp has said Liverpool have no intention of selling Daniel Sturridge or any member of their first team squad when the transfer window reopens in January

Andy Hunter

02, Dec, 2016 @11:40 AM

Article image
Daniel Sturridge may be dropped to Liverpool bench at Borussia Dortmund
Jürgen Klopp was considering a major selection call on his return to Borussia Dortmund by omitting Daniel Sturridge from Liverpool’s starting lineup

Andy Hunter in Dortmund

06, Apr, 2016 @9:30 PM

Article image
Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp explains contents of note to Daniel Sturridge
The Liverpool manager gave his striker a piece of paper during EFL Cup tie with Southampton and forward ran around barking instructions

Mark Dobson

12, Jan, 2017 @7:22 AM