Liverpool play Villareal in tonight’s Europa League second-leg semi-final and find themselves a goal down, but it could be another famous night in Europe at Anfield as Liverpool bid for a place in the Final.
A last minute injury time winner was all that separated the sides in the first-leg. Liverpool coped well with Villareal’s attacking threats in a first half of limited chances, with Villareal’s Cedric Bakambu hitting the crossbar.
Turning the tables, it was Liverpool on the offensive in the second half, but other than Roberto Firmino’s shot that hit the post, they struggled to create clear-cut opportunities to score away from home.
Liverpool will aim to repeat their comeback performance against Borussia Dortmund when they walk out at Anfield, and use the positive atmosphere created by the Kop to spur them on to create and score the goals needed to propel themselves into the final.
The winner of the match will face either Sevilla, the defending champions, or Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk, whose second leg will be kicking off at the same time as the Liverpool v Villareal game.
Sevilla will be the likely winners of this leg as they managed to score two away goals in Donetsk and will most likely close the match out, securing another berth in the Europa League final for themselves, their third in as many years.
Since their first leg loss to Villareal, Liverpool’s form has been less than impressive, losing 3-1 to Swansea, and drawing 2-2 with a rejuvenated Newcastle side fighting stay in the Premier League.
Moreover, Villareal fans will have been encouraged by their side following up their dramatic win over Liverpool, with a 2-0 win over Valencia.
In terms of squad news, Villareal have no injury doubts in their squad for tonight’s matchup, where as Liverpool will be without Divock Origi and Jordan Henderson who are still injured, as well as Sakho who is suspended pending an investigation into a failed drugs test.
However, Liverpool’s German international Emre Can returns to the match squad after five games out after recovering from an ankle injury.
There will be a raucous atmosphere at Anfield tonight, and though they are sometimes slow starters, Liverpool will capitalise on their home advantage and go onto win the match by 2 clear goals and qualify for the Europa League final.
(Images – TheGuardian/ThisIsAnfield/Sevillafc.es)