UEFA Champions League semi-finals: Liverpool overcome Villarreal to reach the final

Liverpool had a scare in the first half, but they still won 3-2 at Villarreal on Tuesday (May 3), giving them a 5-2 aggregate victory. The night had looked bad for Juergen Klopp’s team. The visitors lost 2-0 in the first half but came back with three goals in 12 minutes after the break to reach their third European Cup final.

The Premier League team had won 2-0 in England, but they looked like they would fall apart on a wet pitch in Spain. Boulaye Dia and Francis Coquelin scored for the hosts, who came back with their own goals. The second half was a different story for Liverpool. Fabinho, Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane all scored for the Reds, who finished the game with 10 men after Etienne Capoue was sent off late in the second half.

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Klopp’s team will play either Real Madrid or Manchester City, who play the second leg of their semi-final on Wednesday. They will play in the final in Paris on May 28, when the semi-final ends. First, City led 4-3.

Villarreal scored their first goal after three minutes, thanks to a close-range strike from Dia. The home fans chanted, “Yes, we can!” They cheered the team on.

It had been a long time since Villarreal had been alive in the first leg at Anfield. They looked completely different as they ripped into Liverpool with the same aggressive game that had knocked out Juventus in the last 16 and beaten Bayern Munich in the previous eight. A lot of things went wrong for Liverpool because of their relentless pressure. In the first half of a game this season, they had a passing accuracy of 66%, the lowest of any team they have played in any game this season.

When Coquelin scored a close-range header for Villarreal, they looked like they were about to pull off a miracle comeback and get back into the game against Real Madrid. Even when Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker came out to stop the ball, he bumped into Giovani Lo Celso inside the box. Referee Danny Makkelie didn’t give the hosts a penalty in the 38th minute.

Klopp brought Diaz out of the bench at the break, and the in-form Colombian winger changed the game. He found space and took advantage of a Villarreal team that looked like it had run out of gas. As the pressure on Liverpool increased, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before they scored. The goal came after Fabinho and Mohamed Salah made a great move together on the right side.

He found a loose ball near the Villarreal area, passed two defenders, and played a one-two with the Egyptian. There were three defenders in the way, but Salah set him up with a pass between them. He was left alone to score with a low, angled shot that went through Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli’s legs.

Liverpool went for the throat with Diaz in the middle of the box. Trent Alexander-cross Arnold’s was quickly headed into the goal by Diaz in the 67th minute, and the Reds won the game. Rudi tried to clear a long pass for Mane seven minutes later, but he didn’t even get a single piece of it. This left the Senegalese forward with no one else to score into the empty goal.

Capoue, who had two assists in the first half, was sent off after five minutes. He got a second yellow card for a late challenge on Curtis Jones. “The early goal didn’t help us, but it helped them a lot. So we had to dig deep and be very mature,” he says. Virgil van Dijk, a Liverpool defender, said that in the second half, they played very well. Klopp told them what to do at halftime.

Football is what we need to do. We need to play the Liverpool way, which is how we’ve been playing for most of the season. Move the ball a lot, and behind the last line, they play high, so with the speed we have, we have to mix that up as well.