Liverpool handled business in the first leg of their Champions League semifinals against Unai Emery’s Villarreal. The Reds had some issues scoring the first goal, but then capitalized on the generally poor Villarreal showing to score one more past goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli.
Now, entering the second game, Liverpool have a 2-0 lead and look set to make their third Champions League final in the last five years. Still, they have one more game to play before getting the chance to win the European Cup.
A cross from Jordan Henderson cannoned off the boot of Pervis Estupinan into the back of the net past the shaky Geronimo Rulli. Liverpool doubled their lead not long after as Sadio Mane poked home to hand the Merseyside giants a healthy first-leg advantage.
Form Guide: Villareal
Having relied on their resilience and determination to upset Juventus and Bayern Munich, Villarreal set out to stifle Liverpool in their opening encounter.
Unai Emery’s side held firm until half-time but was undone by two goals in the space of 133 seconds early on in the second period. The Reds received a slice of luck when Jordan Henderson’s cross was deflected beyond keeper Geronimo Rulli and Sadio Mane then just beat the offside trap to double the advantage.
“They were better than us,” admitted Emery. “We wanted to play a better game, create better chances on goal for ourselves, but we needed to be on the defensive a lot.
Form Guide: Liverpool
With less than a month to go before the curtain closes on a whirlwind of a 2021-22 season, the quadruple dream is still a realistic possibility for Liverpool, who briefly returned to the top of the pile in the Premier League by halting the Newcastle United momentum on Saturday lunchtime. They narrowly defeated the Magpies to temporarily be at the top of the table before City overtook them.
While their domestic title destiny remains out of their own hands, Liverpool are only 90 minutes away from making their 10th appearance in the final of Europe’s Premier club tournament. Only Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and AC Milan have also posted double-figure appearances in the showpiece event. Victory at Newcastle represented Liverpool’s fifth on the bounce in all tournaments – their last four of which have come with a clean sheet. Not since going down to Leicester City in December have Klopp’s side lost on the road in any competition.
How the game could go
Stepping out onto the Ceramica turf has been a difficult proposition for a plethora of sides in recent months, but Villarreal offered little to nothing in attack at Anfield and have been hit with injuries to the forward line at the worst possible time.
While Liverpool may find it slightly trickier to assert their dominance away from their Anfield fortress, a refreshed side looking almost unstoppable right now should book their spot in the final with minimal difficulty.
Liverpool to win
Liverpool hold a big lead from the first leg here but still have work to do. The Reds eased past Villarreal in the first leg by winning 2-0. We fancy Liverpool to win again in Spain. Villarreal followed up their loss at Anfield with a La Liga defeat. Meanwhile, Liverpool beat an in-form Newcastle I to take their winning run to five games. Bet9ja have 1.74, 1xbet have 1.74 and Paripesa have 1.74 odds.
Over 2.5 Goals
With Villarreal trailing and at home there will be an onus on them to try and be more ambitious in transitions. That will make them more likely to hurt Liverpool but it will also leave gaps in their rearguard, which Klopp’s men will fancy their chances of exploiting. If the game does play out that way, we’ll be highly likely to see three or more goals. Bet9ja have 1.66 odds, Paripesa have 1.74 and 1xbet have 1.74 odds.
Anytime Goalscorer (Villarreal)
Samuel Chukwueze scored the goal that shattered the hopes of Bayern fans in the quarterfinals tie between both sides and could now be the telling difference here. He was on the scoresheet last weekend as they narrowly lost to Alaves and Emery knows how important he is to the side when going forward. He has shown he can score goals which are why we have added him here. Bet9ja have 4.95 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 4.32.
Arnaut Danjuma should continue to lead the Yellow Submarine line. He’s scored on six occasions in this Champions League campaign although he couldn’t replicate his form from previous games in the first leg. Today, he has a chance to redeem himself and take his side to the final with his goal-scoring ability. Bet9ja have 6.00 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 4.00.
Anytime Goalscorer (Liverpool)
An in-form Sadio Mane would be included in today’s starting lineup and he can certainly be the difference just like the first leg. Mane should have a field day running at Villarreal’s defense, especially when considering that the Yellow Submarine need to play much more offensively if they want a chance in the tie. The Senegalese might be in slightly better form right now and this plays well for our pick. Bet9ja have 2.80 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 2.60.
Salah was rested in their weekend fixture against Newcastle which the team won. He has scored the most goals for Liverpool and he would be pivotal for the team if they are to fully qualify for the final. He has experienced something of a drought by his own standards of late and this could be a good chance to end that run. Bet9ja have 2.20 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 2.00.
Football Lover. All-round junkie of the beautiful game. Could be found watching football most of the time. If not he’s writing about them or making some punditry you don’t agree with. A certain bias for Arsenal and Santos FC.