Mohamed Salah would rather face Real Madrid than Manchester City in the final of the Champions League in Paris as they target the quadruple after seeing off a spirited Villarreal performance in the last four.
Liverpool survived a massive scare in Spain to reach their 10th European Cup/Champions League final.
Fabinho, Diaz, and Mane scored second-half goals after Villarreal wiped out the Reds in the first half.
In a single season, Liverpool has become the first team to reach the European Cup/Champions League finals, the FA Cup, and the League Cup and trails City by just one point in an absorbing Premier League title race.
The Reds’ incredible form has led to talk of Jurgen Klopp’s team lifting four major trophies at the end of the campaign, with Salah hoping to complete the quadruple against Madrid, having been substituted after suffering an injury in Liverpool’s 2018 final loss to Los Blancos.
“Yeah, [it’s a target] for sure,” he told BT Sport. “Maybe not at the beginning of the season, if I’m honest, because I always focus on the Champions League and the Premier League, but now we are close for everything, so why not?
“I think after we beat City in the semi-final of the [FA] cup [Liverpool believed it was possible], but in the Champions League, from the beginning, we were playing unbelievable games, we had an adamant group, and we beat everybody, so I said from that time we could win the Champions League this year.
“I want to play Madrid. But, I have to be honest.
“The city is an adamant team. We played against them a few times this season.
“But I think I would prefer Madrid if you ask me personally.
“Because we lost in the final against them, I want to play against them and hopefully win against them.”
Salah took his tally to an incredible 45 goal contributions in all competitions this season (30 goals, 15 assists).
The Egypt international revealed he had set 40 goals before the campaign began.
“I give the team everything. We have to focus on the team because we fight for everything. We won one trophy already, we are in the final, we continue to fight for the Premier League, and we are in a final against Chelsea [in the FA Cup],” he added.
“I focus and try to train hard. I know what I want at the end of the season, so hopefully, I can get what I want.
“Before the season starts, I know what I want from the season, individually and collectively. Of course, the collective is the most important, [but] I’m nearly there. I have a big expectation for myself.
“Honestly, I never said this before, but before the season started, I was like ‘, okay, I’ll go for 40 goals this season and 10 or 15 assists’. I need to focus on the goals now!”
Meanwhile, reds defender Virgil van Dijk hailed winger Diaz for his impact after the January arrival changed the game as a half-time substitute but refused to join Salah in stating a preferred final opponent.
“The way he goes one versus one, it doesn’t matter who he is facing. He goes at you without any fear,” Van Dijk said of Diaz. “And if he loses it, he wins it back and goes again. That isn’t easy to defend.
“Any team that we face in the final of this competition will be a nightmare to play against. We know City, but they know us too. We know how intense those games are. Real Madrid is Real Madrid. Such a big club and an in-form striker [Karim Benzema].”
Liverpool’s Champions League final opponents will be revealed when Pep Guardiola’s City travel to the Spanish capital on Wednesday, attempting to defend a 4-3 first-leg lead to set up an all-English final.
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