Danjuma: No luck behind Villarreal's giant-killing UCL run (1:44)

Arnaut Danjuma is looking forward to the match againstLiverpool. There is a time and a place for this.

12:13 PM ET

Arnaut Danjuma sat on his sofa and watched the derby. The team he will face in the first leg of the semifinals of the European Championship was given a perfect opportunity to watch because of the fact that they didn't have a game at the weekend.

Danjuma is a football fanatic, and he already knows about the team of Jurgen Klopp. He loves playing the game, watching it and talking about it, but the main reason he watches is to learn. Learn about his opponents, learn about what other forwards do, and learn how to get better. How to get better himself.

He says that he watches everything because he wants to become one of the best in the world. Watching can teach you a lot. I do a lot of analysis on my own games. I watch clips of myself in training and games. Antonio Rodriguez is my personal strikers coach. We look at everything together.

It is not just about your talent in modern football. Football intelligence and the amount of work you put in outside of the pitch are also part of it. You can learn a lot by watching yourself back. You also learn a lot by watching your opponents.

On Sunday, he focused on how they played, how they set up, their patterns of play, and their movement. There is a lot to be impressed with this season. It is not the approach that Danjuma or Villarreal are taking.

He said that the best way to approach the game was the same as before. We should believe in our own strategy and keep doing what we have been doing.

Danjuma has continued his ascent since moving from Bournemouth to Villarreal, and he has been integral in their brilliant run to the Champions League semifinals. Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Yellow Submarine will have the same mindset they had against the other teams in the previous rounds. They shocked everyone by the way they did it in both ties. Their journey so far has been amazing. They finished second in a group with Manchester United, Young Boys and Atalanta, and went on to win their way to the semifinals with huge victories away at Atalanta and at home against Juventus.

Danjuma said they have always been confident, even though the rest of the world didn't expect them to get this far.

We showed that it is not luck. The style of play we have is a strategy. Two teams are completely different. One of the best defensive teams in the world is the Bianconeri, while the other is the best attacking team in the world is the Germans. We showed our quality and strategy by being able to beat them. We know what we will face.

The beautiful game is here. Leagues, tournaments and teams can be watched.

Sign up for ESPN+

On Tuesday, April 26.

• Fulham v Nottm Forest (2:40 p.m. ET)

On Wednesday, April 27.

• Middlesbrough v Cardiff (2:40 p.m. ET)

• Birmingham v Charleston (8 p.m. ET)

• Memphis v Tampa Bay (8 p.m. ET)

Emery and his players worked all weekend on their tactical plan for the first leg. They have been studying video analysis and reps on the training pitch, as well as trying to find weaknesses in the Reds defence, in their preparation.

Danjuma said that Emery is one of the main reasons he came to Villarreal. I am learning a lot from him because he is so open with the players. It is great to work with him. He is one of the best. He is different.

- Ogden: No more excuses for Man City in Champions League

- Hunter: After beating Juventus and Bayern, can Villarreal shock Liverpool?

TheVersatility he has instilled in his players, which has given them confidence against any opponent, is one of the biggest achievements of Emery.

One of our main strengths is to be able to execute what the manager wants in an almost perfect way and play in a different way depending on the opponent. Regardless of who the opponent is, you have a great chance of winning if you execute his game plan. We have a lot in our locker. We can play on the counter. We can play with the ball. We can do everything.

Danjuma scored what would be the decisive goal vs. Bayern, converting in the first leg as Villarreal went on to win 2-1 on aggregate. Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Their next challenge is the toughest so far. A lineup rich with talent like Mohamed Salah, Thiago, Sadio Mane and Alisson, as well as the atmosphere of the club's Kop and the club's undeniable pedigree in Europe, is what makes the club so special.

The intense high press and the high defensive line are two things that amazed me. It is great to have a high defensive line behind you as a forward because it keeps you high up the pitch.

There is a figure of Van Dijk. Danjuma is a teammate of his for the Netherlands.

I want to play against the best in order to prove myself. I play this game because of that. It will be special to play against the captain of the national team. I don't think it gets any better than him, but I want to rank myself against the best. I think I can cause some damage. I have to keep doing it and be consistent, so I am looking forward to a game against someone of his profile.

Is it better to play against someone you know well or not?

It is a good question. I don't know. A game of chess is similar to a strikers vs defenders battle. You have to be unpredictable.

- ESPN+ viewers' guide: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, FA Cup, more

- Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)

- Don't have ESPN? Get instant access

This week marks Danjuma's first return to England as a player after leaving Bournemouth and the Championship for Villarreal.

England has great memories for me. He said it feels like a return to his hometown. It made me a better person, I got a lot better, and it took me to where I am now.

The rest of the world will always be different to the Premier League. You want to compete in the best league. The stadiums have a special atmosphere. It was a privilege to play there and always special to come back.

This is the biggest game of his career to date. There will be many more to come, whether as a player or somewhere else. After one season at la Ceramica, he is attracting interest from some of the biggest clubs in Europe. Danjuma impressed Manchester United when he played them this season, and Paris Saint-Germain are big fans of him. He is valued highly in England and Italy. Many more clubs will take notice if he comes up big.

The California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) permits California residents, or their authorized agents, to opt out of the “sale” of their personal information to third parties. The CCPA defines the term “sale” broadly, and it may include sharing certain information for particular advertising purposes. We never sell personal information to third parties for money. Please visit Your California Privacy Rights for more information about California residents’ rights and our privacy practices.

It's necessary to provide this service or other features.

There is a sale of personal data.

When you visit this website, we and our partners may collect certain information about you, your devices, and your behavior, and this information to third parties to provide you with certain advertising on this site and across the web tailored to you. You can opt out of certain advertising on this site by using the opt out button above. Your choice will not apply to any other property if you opt out on this website. Each website of the Walt Disney Family of Companies has an opt out button. You can change your opt out selection at any time by clicking the link on this site. You must use this link to exercise your opt out on third parties engaging in their own sales as defined by the CCPA. If you opt out of personal information being used for advertising, you can still see ads that are tailored to you and your interests. Certain data collection activities can be controlled by you or your authorized agent. Do Not Sell My Personal Information Rights is a website where you can learn more.

Performance Cookies