Villarreal vs Liverpool news: Red machine to sink Yellow Submarines and reach final

·7-min read

Liverpool put on something of a masterclass to win the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Villarreal at Anfield last week.

But despite the dominance, the 2-0 scoreline means the job isn't done yet as the Reds bid to reach the final for the third time in five years.

The Spaniards barely laid a glove on Liverpool but that will surely change in the second leg as the duo battle it out for the right to play either Manchester City or Real Madrid in the final.

When: Tuesday, May 03, 20:00 BST

Where: Estadio de la Ceramica

How to watch: BT Sport 2

Follow this game via our score centre

Who is the ref for Villarreal vs Liverpool

Danny Makkelie is the man in the middle at 'El Madrigal'.

The Dutch official took charge of Liverpool's 2-1 win away to AC Milan in the group stage and didn't book a single player.

That's in contrast to his other Champions League games this season when his yellow card count was 7, 2, 7, 8, the latter in the Real Madrid v Paris St Germain last-16 clash.

Season stats 2021/22: All matches (41), yellows (126), red (7), penalties (4)

Recent form

The wins keep coming for Liverpool and it's now five on the spin and 10 in the last 12 in all competitions after their 1-0 victory away to Newcastle at the weekend.

The Reds have also stopped conceding goals. The shutouts against Villarreal and Newcastle made it four straight clean sheets.

Liverpool's Naby Keita (centre) celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game
Liverpool's Naby Keita (centre) celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game

Their Champions League away form is sensational: five wins out five in this year's competition. Villarreal followed their 2-0 defeat at Anfield with a 2-1 loss at Getafe on Saturday lunchtime. Those reverses followed a run of three wins and two draws in their previous five games. The Yellow Submarines sit seventh in La Liga but their tally of 10 home wins is the same as third-placed Barcelona and only three teams have more. They're also the joint-highest home scorers alongside champions Real Madrid with 38 so they're far more potent on their home patch than on the road.

Liverpool and Villarreal players in form

Sadio Mane missed a couple of good chances at Newcastle but prior to that he'd scored six in his previous seven outings, including the second goal in the first leg.

Sadio Mane
Sadio Mane

Luis Diaz has been superb since signing in the transfer window while Thiago Alcantara is oozing class every time he plays. At the back, the relentless Andy Robertson is in great form while Ibrahima Konate has been a secret weapon at set-pieces, heading in three goals in his last four starts, two of those coming in Europe. For Villarreal, Arnaut Danjuma scored the winner in the home leg against Bayern and netted both goals when they last played at home: the 2-0 win over Valencia. Samuel Chukweze, who played at Anfield, scored their only goal in the 2-1 defeat at Alaves on Saturday.

Previous meetings

Liverpool 2-0 Villarreal (April 27, 2022)

The hosts took a big stride towards the Champions League final in Paris as two second-half goals reflected their dominance in a one-sided contest at Anfield. The quadruple chasers were kept out in the first 45 before breaking the deadlock on 58 when Jordan Henderson's right-wing cross was deflected beyond Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli.

Liverpool sensed they could move in for the kill and added a quickfire second when Mo Salah slid in Mane to poke home just two minutes later.

Villarreal managed just a single shot to Liverpool's 19 while the hosts enjoyed 73% possession.

Liverpool 3-0 Villarreal (May 05, 2016)

Less than a year into Jurgen Klopp's reign, the Reds overturned a first-leg deficit in convincing style at Anfield to book their place in the Europa League final. Liverpool levelled the tie through Bruno Soriano's early own goal and Daniel Sturridge struck just after the hour to put them ahead on aggregate. Villarreal were reduced to 10 men when Victor Ruiz was shown red and Adam Lallana made the tie safe with a third home goal nine minutes from time. Liverpool would lose the final 3-1 to Sevilla, a side managed by current Villarreal boss Unai Emery.

Villarreal 0-1 Liverpool (April 28, 2016)

The visitors looked set to play out a goalless draw and take the tie back to Anfield all square but there was a late twist. Both sides had struck the woodwork, Liverpool going closest when Roberto Firmino's shot hit the post. But in added time, Adrian Lopez tucked away Denis Suarez's cross to give Villarreal victory on the night even though it eventually didn't prove enough.

Past meetings

Liverpool wins: 2 Draws: 0 Villarreal wins: 1 Liverpool scored: 5 Villarreal scored: 1

Managers' thoughts

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp before the Premier League match at St. James' Park
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp before the Premier League match at St. James' Park

Ahead of the tie, Jurgen Klopp wants his side to prepare for a gruelling test against Villarreal. "We have to be ready to suffer. Not being a goal down - which can happen - but giving the game the right direction. "A good example was Newcastle. The crowd was very passionate but we didn't let it happen, which was the biggest quality for this game. "It wasn't a show of football brilliance. Of course we could have scored more goals but how clear-cut the performance was was incredible. "Yes we have to be emotional, ready to play the best game ever, but knowing it will not happen in moments. "Suffering doesn't mean you suffer for long, you suffer and [clicks fingers] react." Meanwhile, Villarreal boss Unai Emery insists his side will have to be perfect if they are to reach the final. "Tomorrow we have to play a perfect game. "We want the fans to help us live it and enjoy it. The feeling of belonging is very important. "Tomorrow the predominance will be yellow. We are here and we want to play in the final."

Predicted Villarreal v Liverpool teams

Villarreal would love to be able to call on star frontman Gerard Moreno but a hamstring problem looks set to rule him out again.

Former Liverpool left-back Alberto Moreno is a long-term absentee with a ruptured cruciate ligament while Danjuma is a doubt after missing the Alaves game at the weekend.

Possible Villarreal starting line-up: Rulli, Foyth, Albiol, Torres, Estupinan, Coquelin, Parejo, Capoue, Lo Celso, Chukwueze, Dia.

Once more, the only doubt for Liverpool is striker Roberto Firmino, who has a foot problem.

Otherwise, Klopp will go into rotation mode again and this time that probably means recalls for Salah, Thiago, Fabinho and Trent Alexander-Arnold, who were all on a star-packed bench at St James' Park.

Ibrahima Konate appears to be Liverpool's centre back of choice alongside Virgil van Dijk in European ties so the Frenchman is likely to come in for Joel Matip.

Ibrahima Konate scores for Liverpool at Benfica in the Champions League QFs
Ibrahima Konate scores for Liverpool at Benfica in the Champions League QFs

Divock Origi missed the trip to Newcastle with a bug but, if recovered, could be used up front.

Possible Liverpool starting line-up: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Van Dijk, Konate, Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago, Jota, Mane, Salah.

Villarreal v Liverpool prediction

As in the two previous knockout rounds against Inter and Benfica, Liverpool look to have done the hard work already.

That said, there can be no let-up at this stage of the tournament and Klopp will likely send out something very close to his best starting XI to complete the job.

Villarreal will have more going forward than they did at Anfield but Liverpool can do no wrong right now and are all set to book their place in the final.

Try a 2-1 victory on the night, a result that would secure a 4-1 aggregate success.

The article Villarreal vs Liverpool news: Red machine to sink Yellow Submarines and reach final appeared first on Planetsport.com.

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