Liverpool news: Mo Salah wants Real Madrid in Champions League final

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Liverpool star Mo Salah wants to play Real Madrid in the final of the Champions League as he eyes both revenge and the Quadruple.

The Reds survived a scare against Villarreal on Tuesday night to book their place in their third European final in five years.

The 2019 winners saw their 2-0 first leg evaporate at El Madrigal as the hosts stormed out of the blocks.

But an improved second half display saw them turn the game around, goals from Fabinho, Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane given them a 3-2 win on the night and a 5-2 victory on aggregate.

They will now play either Manchester City or Real Madrid in the Paris final on May 28 when they will bid to win the famous trophy for a seventh time. However, Salah is eyeing a clash with the Spanish champions, having famously been injured when the sides met in the 2018 final, a game won 3-1 by Real.

'I prefer to play Madrid'

Asked who he'd prefer to play, the Egyptian told BT Sport: "I want to play Madrid, I have to be honest. "City is a really tough team. We played against them a few times this season. If you ask me personally, I would prefer Madrid because we lost in the final (in 2018). I want to play against at them and hopefully win it." Salah also admitted an unprecedented Quadruple was now a target - Liverpool are potentially just six games away from writing arguably the greatest chapter in English football history. Asked if that was now in his sights, Salah said: "For sure. Maybe not at the beginning of the season - I'm always honest, I always focus on the Champions League and Premier League but now we are close to everything so, why not?" Liverpool have already won the EFL Cup and will meet Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 14. Salah also revealed that despite having scored 30 goals in all competitions so far this season, he was short of his personal target for the campaign.

40-goal target

He added: "Before the start of the season I know what I want from a season, individual and collective. "Honestly, I never said it before, but before the season starts I was like 'I go for 40 goals this season and 10 assists, 15 assists' (he now has 15), so I need to focus on the goals now!"

Salah's jubilant mood seemed unlikely at half time which arrived with the sides locked together at 2-2 across the two legs. Trailing 2-0 having been outplayed at Anfield, Villarreal made a flying start to the return leg and reduced the deficit in the tie to just a single goal inside three minutes.

Pervis Estupinan's cross from the left found Etienne Capoue at the far post and he cut the ball back for Boulaye Dia to tap home.

Villarreal celebrate
Villarreal celebrate

The hosts continued to dominate and they levelled the aggregate score four minutes before the break. Capoue was again the provider, lofting in a cross from the right which Francis Coquelin headed past Alisson.

Stunned

Liverpool were stunned and it was no surprise to see Jurgen Klopp bring on Luis Diaz for Diogo Jota at half time. It proved a masterstroke.

The Colombian was instrumental in restoring the Reds' grip on the tie, getting them on the front foot for the first time on the night. Fabinho restored their lead in the tie on 62 minutes, his shot squeezing through keeper Geronimo Rulli's legs - a bad mistake.

Five minutes later it was 4-2 overall. Trent Alexander-Arnold delivered a trademark cross from the right and Diaz headed in.

Luis Diaz
Luis Diaz

Mane won the game on the night and made the aggregate score 5-2 by netting on the break in the 74th minute, rounding the onrushing Rulli before slotting into the empty net. Villarreal's miserable night was complete when Capoue was sent off after picking up his second yellow card for a foul on Curtis Jones with five minutes to go. Afterwards Liverpool manager Klopp revealed what he'd told his players at half time to inspire the turnaround. He told BT Sport: "Respect to Villarreal, their team, stadium, coach… unbelievable what they set up and put us under pressure. "We didn't play football at all. We didn't get momentum back in the first half. I told the boys, 'where's that momentum? they don't own it'. "We had to start playing football. All of a sudden, when we broke the lines, finding the half-spaces and being more free and more flexible, not fixed on our positions, all of a sudden we were in the game, scored goals and made it happen."

The article Liverpool news: Mo Salah wants Real Madrid in Champions League final appeared first on Planetsport.com.

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