Klopp: Liverpool must think about Bournemouth, not Villarreal

Jürgen Klopp has admitted his Liverpool side will make widespread changes to the starting eleven to face Bournemouth this weekend as he insisted that they cannot afford to think ahead to the UEFA Europa League semi-finals later this month.

Klopp: Liverpool must think about Bournemouth, not Villarreal
(Picture: Getty Images)

Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp insists he's firmly fixated on his side's Premier League trip to Bournemouth on Sunday afternoon as opposed to the Reds' Europa League exploits.

Dejan Lovren's late header secured a dramatic comeback to beat Borussia Dortmund 4-3 and progress to the semi-finals of the competition, where they have learned they will face Villarreal.

But although it would be easy for Liverpool to simply focus on their European commitments with admittedly little to play for in the league, Klopp says they cannot start "dreaming" about reaching the final in Switzerland next month just yet.

Asked about the Reds' final four draw, Klopp told the media that he doesn't "think about Villarreal in this moment" despite acknowledging the team "know about the draw" and "have spoken about organisation."

"But there's a long way to go before then," warned the German, who said that they "have no idea yet who will be available" for the two legs against the La Liga side.

He declared that it's "not about dreaming about the Champions League or dreaming about the final" because they have "not played one minute in the semi-final" and cannot afford to think ahead of themselves.

Klopp also says that it will not be easy for his side, insisting that Villarreal "aren't there because all their previous opponents couldn't play football" and that the Yellow Submarine "will be strong" over the two legs.

"Hopefully everyone knows about this," added Klopp, who further explained that it is a "nice opportunity" to "have those two games" to compete for a place in the final.

Reds "have to make changes" to team, says Klopp, acknowledging the "brilliant job" Eddie Howe has done

Klopp and Howe have already gone up against each other once, with Liverpool beating Bournemouth 1-0 in the Capital One Cup back in October, the German's first win since arriving at Anfield earlier in the month. (Picture: Getty Images)
Klopp and Howe have already gone up against each other once, with Liverpool beating Bournemouth 1-0 in the Capital One Cup back in October, the German's first win since arriving at Anfield earlier in the month. (Picture: Getty)

Klopp is highly likely to make wide-ranging changes for his side's lengthy trip down to the South Coast and the likes of Jon Flanagan, Kolo Touré, Joe Allen and Jordon Ibe are all in contention start.

Indeed, youngsters Brad Smith, Kevin Stewart and Sheyi Ojo have also travelled down to the Vitality Stadium with the possibility of featuring - but though some will perceive the changes as disrespect for the Cherries, Klopp says he has plenty of appreciation for the job that Eddie Howe has done.

Bournemouth are all but secured their place in the top-flight next term, with 41 points on the board and a huge 15-point gap above the top-four going into the weekend.

Klopp said that Howe's side "are really strong" and lauded the "brilliant job" that the 38-year-old has done, especially due to the fact it "wasn't too easy for them" earlier this season "with key players injured."

He added that Bournemouth "changed their style a bit" and praised Howe and his backroom staff for "the way they handled the situation and found the solution."

On Howe's achievements with the club, he insisted: "They have one of the most exciting managers in this league. He's still young. He looks young! 30 something? That's really impressive.

But he also acknowledged that he must make alterations to his team after a thrilling win over Dortmund in midweek, saying: "We have to make changes, for sure."

He said that Bournemouth have a "big advantage" in that they have "had a lot less games", whilst insisting that Liverpool "have to find a line-up and a plan" to combat that. 

Klopp also declared that his side "have to go there and fight more than they expect in this moment" as he said: "We will try to win."