Liverpool stormed into a 1-0 lead against Villarreal in their Europa League semi-final second leg amidst a furious atmosphere at Anfield.
An emotionally charged crowd on Merseyside welcomed their heroes onto the turf with a particularly charged rendition of ‘You’ll never walk alone’, with the memories of the 96 lives lost in the Hillsborough disaster—and the recent ‘justice’ that came their way—hanging heavy over the heads of Reds fans.
The players were clearly pumped up too, tearing into tackles and ferociously attacking the Yellow Submarine—who beat them 1-0 at the Madrigal last week.
However, while it wasn’t immediately apparent whether the Merseysiders’ tenacity was a reaction to the atmosphere, or a direct request from coach Jurgen Klopp, the manager’s own touchline antics gave the game away.
Klopp, always one to wear his heart on his sleeve, was at his hyperactive best on Thursday, urging his team on at every opportunity and kicking every ball.
However, even his reaction to Dejan Lovren’s tackle on Cedric Bakambu was a little too much.
Klopp celebrating Lovren tackle like a goal https://t.co/u2oPFPz8ot
— Steven Gerrard (@Gerrard8FanPage) May 5, 2016
While it’s terrific to see a bit of passion in the game—which the Reds currently lead after Bruno’s seventh-minute own goal—it’s hard to imagine both sides keeping ten men on the pitch if things remain as charged as they currently are.
It’s great that Klopp shows his emotions for all to see, and gets his team battling in his own image, but will this approach ultimately cost the Reds against Villarreal?