Villarreal boss’ Liverpool jibe

Villarreal manager Marcelino has taken a swipe at Liverpool ahead of Thursday night's Europa League semi-final second leg, by asserting that Christian Benteke's transfer fee is the same as Villarreal's turnover.

The La Liga outfit head into the second leg with a 1-0 first-leg advantage, a result achieved despite Villarreal lacking the financial power of their heavyweight opponents. Speaking ahead of the match, Marcelino claimed that the £30m-plus striker, who was on the bench for the first leg, cost as much as Villarreal’s annual turnover is.

"Liverpool as a club have an extraordinary squad of footballers when you consider Benteke cost 50m euros which equates to the whole turnover of Villarreal as a club," he said.

"We come here full of hope, we are going to give everything we have got and we will enjoy ourselves. Our main aim is to be competitive. We feel we have the capabilities we can make it through to the final."

The Spaniard does not believe his side well be over-awed ahead of their trip to Anfield, and that they can be proud regardless of the result.

"This group of players needs to be proud of what they have achieved as we are already qualified for the Champions League," he said.

"This is an occasion to be celebrated. In no way whatsoever will we be affected negatively by the atmosphere, if anything we will be affected positively and galvanised by it."