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Emery: Best-ever Liverpool side are Champions League favourites

UEFA Championship

Emery: Best-ever Liverpool side are Champions League favourites


Unai Emery says Villarreal must try and “surf the wave of experience” they have gained when they battle with the “best-ever Liverpool” for a place in the Champions League final.

Villarreal dumped out Serie A giants Juventus and Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich on a surprise run to the last four.

The Yellow Submarine travels to Anfield for the first leg on Wednesday, plotting to tear up another script.

Villarreal beat Manchester United in the Europa League final last season, and it would be an incredible story if they won Europe’s premier club competition in Seville next month.

Emery rates Premier League title contenders Liverpool, who are eyeing an unprecedented quadruple, as the favourites to lift the trophy and knows his side is no longer a surprise package.

At a pre-match news conference on Tuesday, the Villarreal head coach said:

“We face a more significant challenge than before. Unfortunately, the surprise factor is no longer there. But, nevertheless, they are the number one favourites to win this competition.

“The team is a mirror of their coach, Jurgen Klopp, playing with joy, with enthusiasm. They are in the best moment.

“I remember my experiences against Liverpool [when he was Arsenal boss] at Anfield as challenging.

“However, I recognise the work done and the identity created by Klopp, which has since been further improved.

“I see that as an additional motivation for me, to try and beat the best-ever Liverpool. For that, we will need to show our best version.”

Emery says the LaLiga side must draw on their experience from their exploits in Europe.

He added: “We have been able to compete against big teams like Juve and Bayern, so they know it will be a challenging game and will have to be 100 per cent and give it all at Anfield.

“Of course, they will feel favourite as that is natural. It is an even more incredible difficulty than Juventus and Bayern Munich.

“We will try to surf the wave of experience we started accumulating last season.”

In their previous eight matches in England, Villarreal has not won, but their last victory came on Merseyside against Everton in August 2005.

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