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  1. And so to the second leg, which we go into holding the scoreline that this season has often left us confused as to whether we should stick or twist. Villarreal have been a tough nut to crack in Europe this year (and last), getting great results against Juventus and Bayern along the way, but then they’ve never been dominated the way they were in the first leg at Anfield. We squeezed them so thoroughly they just never had an out ball, and with better finishing we would have been out of sight and probably able to rest a few more for the second leg. That’s not to say the attitude would have been one of “job done” by our players or staff, but there would certainly have been an approach of merely getting through the tie unscathed and prepare for bigger battles to come. Avoidance of both complacency and flawed decision making are the key for this game. Class. Organisation. Luck. Liveliness. Ingenuity. Nerve. Accuracy. I don’t ask for much. Our history with the Spanish side is very short, having previously only played them in the semi finals of the Europa League in Klopp’s first season. The first leg took place at the end of April 2016 at El Madrigal, the Spaniards’ compact stadium. It was a nervy affair for both sides, with few chances. Our best two were an early effort from Allen that found the keeper when it should have found the corner of the net, and a second half shot from Bobby that was palmed off the post by the Villarreal keeper. Very late on, Bert broke clear from halfway but sliced high and wide from just inside the area as he was closed down by the defender. Unfortunately, Villarreal broke down the other end, Bert was out of position and Kolo for some reason had dropped back much deeper than the rest of the defence. Denis Suarez was picked out in space on the right and he squared for Adrian Lopez in the centre to tap into an empty net. Instead of coming away with a 0-0, we would have to stage a recovery at Anfield. Fortunately we had shown we were well capable of that under the Anfield lights, and a week later we won 3-0 to earn a place in the final in Basel. The box office in April 2016 was topped by Jon Favreau’s photo-real animation take on the 1967 Disney classic The Jungle Book, itself based on the short story by Rudyard Kipling. Much like with the photo-real animation (and this time almost shot-for-shot) remake of 1994 classic The Lion King 3 years later, I find myself judging it against the original, perhaps unfairly. The original two are my favourite of the Disney animated films, and The Jungle Book holds special nostalgia value for me as it’s the first time I can remember seeing a film at the cinema. It was the early 80s and the local Odeon were showing it, so my mum decided to take me, our neighbour’s son and my cousins to see it. We were treated to the works - giant boxes heaped with popcorn, Ribena (or maybe Um Bongo or similar) juice cartons, pick ‘n’ mix, ice cream, you name it. And yet the film was utterly captivating and so much fun! Make no mistake, the latest adaptations are both brilliant in their own right, and not just visually, but they lack the aura of the originals. The voice cast in this one is uniformly excellent, though I still think George Sanders’ voice is better than Idris Elba’s for showcasing the quiet menace of Shere Khan, the story’s Big Bad. The 2016 film has both Bill Murray and Christopher Walken having a whale of a time as Baloo and King Louise respectively, so what’s not to like? Will Villarreal be as smothered as they were at Anfield? Will they come out and give it a good go? Will the ref be a slapdick or be fully aware of Villarreal’s attempts to make the most of every challenge? We need to make sure that we don’t do anything silly, never mind relinquish the advantage we built in the first leg. Motivation, attitude and application are the watchwords to avoid the complacency I mentioned before, and fortunately Klopp, the staff and the players are not prone to reading too much into any event, whichever way it goes. It’s all about relentless focus and if we can build on our advantage and kill the tie off early, perhaps the “bare necessities” will suffice for the rest of the game. We’ve even got our own King Luis! Ahem...anyway, let’s just get the job done. It’s served us well thus far.
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