Liverpool are on their way to the final thanks to two goals against Villarreal

Thanks to a deserved 2-0 win over Villarreal, who had been overshadowed for a long time, Liverpool in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final secured a very good place in the second leg in six days.

Breaking the spell: Jordan Henderson and Mohamed Salah (left) celebrate after Liverpool's 1-0 lead.

Breaking the spell: Jordan Henderson and Mohamed Salah (left) celebrate after Liverpool’s 1-0 lead.
Images by IMAGO / PA

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp rotated three positions after beating Everton 2-0 in the Merseyside derby: Instead of Matip, Keita and Diogo Jota (all on the bench), Konate, Henderson and Luis Diaz started.

Villarreal coach Unai Emery also made three changes after beating Valencia 2-0. Mandy, Manu Trigueros (both off the bench) and Jeremie (injured) have been replaced by Pau, Coquelin and Samu Chukwueze, who eliminated Bayern with the goal of making it 1-1 in Munich in the second leg of the quarter-finals. Striker Gerrard (muscular injury) did not get back to fitness in time.

Henderson and Thiago meet Alo

Villarreal met Liverpool with a back four against the ball, leaving little room for gathering in the middle. It took ten minutes before the Reds, who clearly had the upper hand, got their first good chance with a header from Mane (12). During the first half, the LFA remained dominant, and the Spaniards never appeared outside the midfield.

While Klopp-Elf recovered many balls almost immediately in the counter-press, they lacked quite a bit of penetration power against the very narrow and deep guests. However, there were chances: Henderson hit the outside post from a very sharp angle (22), and Salah hit high after playing with Mane (27).

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In the closing stages before the break, the pressure continued to build. Mane’s deflected shot fell off the goal (33 minutes), and Salah missed a ball a few meters away from a quick attack (35). Finally, Thiago hit the left outer post with a powerful long-range shot (42), so that Villarreal witnessed a somewhat negative tie at the break.

Henderson with luck, mane in style

After the break, the Reds’ pressure continued. After an offside goal from Fabinho after a corner kick was not initially recognized (50), Liverpool took the lead a little later – with a bit of luck: Henderson’s cross effort was decisive from Estupinan through Rowley, who only got the ball veering his fingertips into the left corner for goal (53′). And things improved for Klopp’s team, because Salah served Mane at the right moment shortly after, who made the double strike perfect with his outside foot (55).

While Villarreal did not create a good opportunity to score after that and did not shoot directly on target throughout the match, Liverpool had more chances. After another offside goal (Robertson, 64), Van Dyck Rulli forced an unconventional save with a powerful shot (68). Luis Diaz narrowly missed twice (68, 79), so – given Liverpool’s many chances – he remained 2-0 up.

Goals and cards

1: 0Stupinan (53′, goal, left foot, J. Henderson)

2: 0mane (55 minutes, right foot, Salah)

Liverpool FC




referee team

Simon Marciniak

Simon Marciniak

game info

The Reds visit Newcastle United on Saturday (1.30pm) ahead of the semi-final second leg at Villarreal on Tuesday (9pm). The Yellow Submarine departs for Deportivo Alaves in La Liga on Saturday (2 pm).


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