“Looking back on the two previous semis [in 2018 against Roma and 2019 against Barcelona] we made it quite difficult for ourselves,” said Alexander-Arnold.
“In the second leg we had to dig deep and see the game out. Hopefully we will be able to make it easier. But we don’t take these things for granted.
“It is easy to get that complacency where you think, ‘we have got world class players, world class staff, world class manager, and this is our third semi-final in five years so we will probably get there again and so it doesn’t matter’. That is not the case with us. We don’t know if we are going to get this opportunity [again]. We are in a really good position right now so we have to make the most of it to get to another final.
“We have got the lead to protect. That comes with some game management for us. We know we can’t be silly over there and get drawn into how they want to play the game.”
Wherever else his career takes him, Alexander-Arnold has already etched his name on the history of Champions League semi-finals.
The ‘corner taken quickly’ to Divock Origi against Barcelona in the Anfield second leg of 2019 completed the mother of all comebacks. Memories of that epic night serve as inspiration as Klopp’s side pursue another final, and a reminder that having overcome a 3-0 deficit three years ago, a 2-0 advantage over Villarreal is comparatively slender.
“When you do get so close [to a final] you do get those memories of what it felt like – the memories and the special feelings you had – and sharing it with your teammates and family,” said Alexander-Arnold.
“It is an exciting time and I feel like we thrive off it. This is always the best time of the season. Every game is a final, pushing on all three fronts. You want to be playing in these games. You want everything on the line and you want every game to feel like you have to win it.”
Earlier this season Alexander-Arnold claimed a trophy is the minimum Liverpool expected from any season. In the current circumstances, he has revised his targets.
“I did say one trophy a season minimum,” he said.
“That is in a season that isn’t our best. But we are in fine form and have been able to win in different ways. When you are staring down the barrel and looking at more trophies – where if we win every game we are looking at more silverware – that is what we are looking at. This is a very special season for us all and hopefully we will see it through and at the end be in the history books again.”
With Klopp signed up until 2026, any future team success is likely to be matched by Alexander-Arnold’s personal accolades.
“Hopefully the [manager’s] extra two years are just as successful as the ones we have had so far,” said the defender.
“There has been an increase in success in every season. This one could make it something special for us. It gives us that boost that we have four more years of these kinds of seasons to come.”
Klopp, who rested many of his stars against Newcastle last weekend, says his side must be prepared to ‘suffer’ to secure their final place, but he is buoyed by his side’s capacity for dealing with hostile away grounds.
“A good example was at Newcastle,” said Klopp.
“The crowd was obviously very passionate but we did not let it happen [for them] which was the biggest quality of this game. It was not a show of football brilliance. We had our moments and of course could have scored more goals. But how clear cut the performance was? That was incredible and that is what we have to be. Yes emotional, yes ready to play the best game ever but knowing it will just not happen in all moments. Suffering doesn’t mean you suffer for long. It means you suffer and then react.”