Liverpool appears to be one European giant too many for Unai Emery’s men as Villarreal’s fairytale run in the Champions League might be coming to an end on May 3.
A third Champions League final in five seasons is in sight for the English club after a 2-0 win in the first leg of the semi-finals last week Wednesday which the Reds secured after an own goal by Yellow submarine’s Pervis Estupinan and a poked finish by Sadio Mane in a two-minute span early in the second half.
The second meeting in the Champions League semifinal round features a true matchup of European minnow facing a global giant as the Reds travel to Villarreal to battle the Yellow Submarines on Wednesday.
Villarreal has already taken out two past continental powers — Juventus and Bayern Munich — in the Round of 16 and quarterfinal to get to this point.
Liverpool and Manchester City, who are overwhelming favourites to reach the final, are widely seen as the two best teams in club soccer right now.
UCL Semifinal – A tricky one for Klopps’ men at Estadio de la Cerámica
The pressure is all on Liverpool to create the chances and get separation away against a Villarreal side that has had a ton of success defending deep, while also effectively counterattacking in behind against so-called bigger European sides.
A team sitting in seventh place in the Spanish league and filled with players who failed to make it in England somehow managed to eliminate European royalties Juventus and Bayern Munich in the knockout stage.
Liverpool, still on course for an unprecedented quadruple of major trophies, was an even bigger step up and easily overcame the limited challenge of Villarreal.
Still, it took the six-time European champions some time to make the breakthrough.
The second leg takes place on Tuesday and only a major surprise will prevent Villarreal from bowing out at the semi-final stage, just like in 2006.
Liverpool are looking to win Europe’s biggest prize for the second time in four years, having also reached the final in 2018 under manager Jurgen Klopp.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Semifinal – VILLAREAL V LIVERPOOL [HEAD to HEAD]
|2022- 04-27||Champions League||Liverpool||2-0||Villarreal|
Villarreal’s Home Form in their last 5 matches
W D W W W (4 wins, 1 Draw)
Liverpool’ Away Form in their Last 5 matches
W D W W W (4 wins, 1 Draw)
Champions League Semifinal: Villarreal V Liverpool Match Facts
- Villarreal have lost two of their three meetings with Liverpool in European competition, although their one victory over the Reds did come in their only previous clash on home soil, in the 2015-16 UEFA Europa League semi-finals (1-0). The Yellow Submarine netted a 90th-minute winner through Adrián López.
- To qualify for this season’s Champions League final, Villarreal will have to become only the second team to overturn a two-goal deficit from the first leg of a UEFA Champions League semi-final. Opponents Liverpool are the only side to have lost a first leg by 2+ goals and still progressed from the tie, beating Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate in 2018-19 (0-3 away and 4-0 at home).
- Villarreal are unbeaten at home in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages, although they have only won two of their seven such games (D5). Indeed, these seven games have seen just 10 goals scored in total, with neither side managing to score more than once on any occasion.
Champions League – Villarreal V Liverpool – Win Probability
|Villarreal 20%||Draw 23%||Liverpool 57%|
The Reds have failed to win just two of their last 12 games at Anfield, which includes a 3-3 draw with Benfica earlier in April.
Villarreal upset the odds to beat Juventus and Bayern Munich to book a semi-final spot but lost to Liverpool at Anfield last week Wednesday. They face off with visitors, Liverpool on Tuesday’s Champions League game at home where they are unbeaten in their last five games, winning four of five.
Unai Emery has beaten Liverpool as a manager and will look to upset the Reds on home turf, come May 3.
The Yellow Submarine have won a lot of admirers on their way to the semi-finals, but the in-form Reds should have too much for their La Liga counterparts here.
Our prediction is Villarreal 1-2 Liverpool.
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