Liverpool took a massive step towards securing their spot in the Final of this season’s UEFA Champions League, courtesy of a 2-0 win over Spanish La Liga outfit Villarreal at a packed Anfield on Wednesday night.
The opening half saw little goalmouth action, although Liverpool were the dominant side. The only clear cut-chance fell to the Reds when Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara unleashed a long-range shot which cannoned off the post.
The second half saw the Reds score two quick-fire goals in the space of three minutes – first it was skipper Jordan Henderson who gave the home side the lead before Senegalese attacker Sadio Mane made it two in quick succession.
The victory sees Liverpool having not lost a home leg of a semi-final tie in the European Cup. They boast an enviable record of ten wins and two draws. As for the Yellow Submarine, they will have to come up with something massive in the second leg next week if they hope to reach a first UCL Final in their history.
🔴 Live Blog
FULL-TIME AT ANFIELD: Liverpool 2-0 Villarreal
55′ MIN: Wonderful approach play from Salah, before Mane keeps his cool to slide the ball under Rulli to double the lead!
GOOOAAALLL!!! Liverpool 2-0 Villarreal (S. Mane)
53′ MIN: Salah finds Henderson on the overlap and his cross takes a deflection off Estupiñán and loops in.
GOOOAAALLL!!! Liverpool 1-0 Villarreal (J. Henderson)
SECOND HALF UNDERWAY AT ANFIELD: Liverpool 0-0 Villarreal
HALF-TIME AT ANFIELD: Liverpool 0-0 Villarreal
KICK-OFF AT ANFIELD: Liverpool 0-0 Villarreal
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has named the trio of Luis Diaz, Sadio Mane and Mo Salah in attack, and has also handed a Starting shirt to defender Ibrahima Konate who was splendid in the previous round against Benfica – scoring two goals.
Villarreal manager Unai Emery has listed Nigeria international Samuel Chukwueze in the Starting XI, following his winning goal against Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals second leg last time out.
Tuesday’s first semi-final fixture involving Premier League leaders Manchester City and La Liga table toppers Real Madrid truly lived up to the pre-match hype and turned out to be a classic. The Cityzens edged Los Blancos 4-3 after 90 minutes, with Karim Benzema netting a brace in what was his 600th appearance for Los Blancos including a nerve-racking Panenka penalty in the second half. All is still left to be contested for in the return leg next week.
In our feature game for tonight, the Reds welcomes the Yellow Submarine to Anfield in what should be an entertaining fixture. Unai Emery’s men have had a giant killing run in the knockout rounds – having seen off the likes of Juventus and Bayern Munich but will Liverpool prove a step too far? As for the Kop, they are very much in the hunt for a historic quadruple and will fancy their chances against a side with less European traditions as they bid to reach a third UEFA Champions League Final in five years.
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