By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Michael Owen has identified Dejan Lovren, Simon Mignolet and Adam Lallana as the three Liverpool players who have improved most under Jurgen Klopp.
The trio all started on Thursday night as Liverpool destroyed Villarreal 3-0 in their Europa League semi-final second leg clash.
The convincing victory booked Liverpool’s place in the Europa League final against holders Sevilla on 18 May in Basle, Switzerland. It will be the Merseyside club’s first European final since they lost to AC Milan in the Champions League in 2007.
“Over the last few months we’ve really seen something special,” said Owen, as quoted by the BBC Sport website. “There’s such high energy levels, the pressing we all knew Jurgen Klopp was going to bring over. But he’s just improving players – the likes of Adam Lallana, Simon Mignolet and Dejan Lovren – as well.
“There’s special times ahead. It’s almost like they are unbeatable here. It’s becoming a fortress.”
Lallana, who was one of the three attacking midfielders who supported spearhead Daniel Sturridge in a dominant attacking display against Villarreal, scored Liverpool’s third goal on Thursday night.
The England international had a difficult first season at Anfield but he has become increasingly productive since Klopp took over last October and has now struck seven times in 47 matches in all competitions this season and supplied eight assists.
Lovren also struggled after moving from Southampton to Liverpool in the same summer as Lallana but he has developed impressively since the turn of the year and has now established himself as the team’s premier centre-back.
Owen’s nomination of Mignolet is more of a surprise as has been heavily criticised by supporters this season for a number of high profile errors. Nevertheless, he is the undisputed No1 at Anfield and has made 52 appearances for the club this season, more than any other player.
In other Liverpool news, the Merseysiders are eyeing a summer move for an 11-goal winger.