Liverpool are aiming to reach their tenth European Cup final at the expense of a Villarreal team who are hoping to play in their first.
• While this is Liverpool's third UEFA Champions League semi-final in five seasons, Villarreal's only previous appearance came 16 years ago – and ended in defeat against English opponents – although impressive away results at Juventus and Bayern München in this season's competition give cause for optimism.
• Liverpool are without a win at Anfield in this season's knockout rounds and have managed only two home victories in their five UEFA Champions League knockout games at home to Spanish clubs (D1 L2).
• Both of Villarreal's previous forays into the competition's knockout rounds have been ended by English opponents and they have failed to overcome Premier League clubs in their 12 previous matches in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final (D6 L6).
• The sides' only previous fixtures came in the semi-final of the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League, Adrian López scoring the only goal of the first leg in Spain to earn victory for a Villarreal side coached by Marcelino.
• However, Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool went on to turn round the tie with a 3-0 success at Anfield, an early Bruno Soriano own goal (7) added to in the second half by Daniel Sturridge (63) and Adam Lallana (81).
• James Milner and Roberto Firmino started both legs for Liverpool, while Sergio Asenjo and Mario Gaspar were in the Villarreal team for the first game. Gaspar and substitute Manu Trigueros also featured at Anfield, when Asenjo was an unused replacement.
• Liverpool went on to lose to a Sevilla side coached by current Villarreal boss Unai Emery in the final.
• The Reds' record in European Cup semi-finals is W9 L2:
1964/65 Inter L 3-4 (3-1 h, 0-3 a)
1976/77 Zürich W 6-1 (3-1 a, 3-0 h)
1977/78 Borussia Mönchengladbach W 4-2 (1-2 a, 3-0 h)
1980/81 Bayern München W 1-1 away goals (0-0 h, 1-1 a)
1983/84 Dinamo Bucureşti W 3-1 (1-0 h, 2-1 a)
1984/85 Panathinaikos W 5-0 (4-0 h, 1-0 a)
2004/05 Chelsea W 1-0 (0-0 a, 1-0 h)
2006/07 Chelsea W 1-1, 4-1 pens (0-1 a, 1-0 h aet)
2007/08 Chelsea L 3-4 (1-1 h, 2-3 a aet)
2017/18 Roma W 7-6 (5-2 h, 2-4 a)
2018/19 Barcelona W 4-3 (0-3 a, 4-0 h)
• Liverpool have never lost at Anfield at this stage of the European Cup, winning nine of their 11 matches (D2) and conceding just four goals.
• The comeback victory against Barcelona three seasons ago made it nine aggregate wins in Liverpool's last ten European Cup semi-finals.
• The Reds are in the UEFA Champions League for the 14th time; this is the sixth season in which they have reached the semi-finals.
• Liverpool enjoyed a faultless record in this season's group stage having won 2-1 against AC Milan on Matchday 6 to conclude their perfect Group B campaign. They had opened with a 3-2 win at home to Milan before beating Porto (5-1 a, 2-0 h) and Atlético de Madrid (3-2 a, 2-0 h).
• The Merseyside club made it four away wins from four games with a 2-0 victory at Inter in the round of 16 first leg, going through despite a 1-0 loss at Anfield. They then won 3-1 at Benfica in the quarter-final first leg, progressing 6-4 on aggregate after a 3-3 home draw.
• That means Liverpool are without a win in their last four UEFA Champions League knockout games at Anfield (D2 L2), since the 4-0 victory against Barcelona in the 2018/19 semi-final second leg.
• Liverpool were one of three teams who won all six group games this season, along with Ajax (Group C) and Bayern (E), although they were the only one of the three who made it seven successive victories in the round of 16 first leg before their run was ended by Inter. Milan (1992/93), Paris Saint-Germain (1994/95), Spartak Moskva (1995/96), Barcelona (2002/03), Real Madrid (2011/12, 2014/15) and Bayern (2019/20) have all previously recorded six wins from six in a UEFA Champions League group stage; only Bayern went on to lift the trophy.
• This is Liverpool's fifth successive campaign in the UEFA Champions League proper, all under Klopp; runners-up to Real Madrid in the 2017/18 final, they claimed their sixth European Cup at the expense of Tottenham with a 2-0 victory in the 2018/19 final.
• Liverpool's last two UEFA Champions League campaigns have ended in defeat against clubs from Madrid. Dethroned by Atlético in the 2019/20 round of 16 (0-1 a, 2-3 h aet), they lost to Real Madrid in last season's quarter-finals (1-3 a, 0-0 h).
• Klopp's side had finished first in Group D on 13 points, ahead of Atalanta, Ajax and Midtjylland, before beating Leipzig 2-0 in both legs of their round of 16 tie with both games played in Budapest.
• Liverpool have won six of their last ten UEFA Champions League matches at Anfield (D2 L2).
• Champions of England for the 19th time in 2019/20, their first league title since 1990, Liverpool finished third in the 2020/21 Premier League.
• The defeat against Atlético in the 2019/20 round of 16 ended Liverpool's perfect record against Spanish clubs in two-legged European Cup knockout ties; they had won all the previous four, but were then beaten in the next as well, by Real Madrid last season. Their overall record in two-legged knockout ties with Liga sides in UEFA club competition is W9 L4.
• This season's wins against Atlético have made it four victories in Liverpool's last 16 fixtures against Spanish clubs (D3 L9) – a sequence that also includes 3-1 losses under Klopp in the 2016 UEFA Europa League final to Emery's Sevilla and the 2018 UEFA Champions League final to Real Madrid.
• The Merseysiders have won only seven of their 21 games against Spanish visitors at Anfield (D8 L6), although they have been victorious in five of the last nine (D2 L2).
• Villarreal's only previous European Cup semi-final ended in defeat:
2005/06 Arsenal L 0-1 (0-1 a, 0-0 h)
• Villarreal are the 20th team to appear in multiple UEFA Champions League semi-finals, and the fifth from Spain.
• Last season's UEFA Europa League win against Arsenal was Villarreal's first semi-final success in that competition after defeats in 2003/04, 2010/11 and 2015/16, the latter against Liverpool. They did, however, win all three of their UEFA Intertoto Cup semi-finals between 2002 and 2004.
• The Spanish side picked up ten points in this season's group stage to reach the round of 16, finishing one point behind Manchester United having lost 2-1 away and 2-0 at home against the team they beat in last season's UEFA Europa League final.
• Six of Villarreal's ten points came away from home thanks to wins at Young Boys (4-1) and Atalanta (3-2) after the defeat at United.
• Villarreal were then held 1-1 at home by Juventus in the round of 16 second leg but late goals from Gerard Moreno (78pen), Pau Torres (85) and Danjuma (90+2pen) secured a memorable 3-0 success in Turin.
• Bayern were then overcome in the last eight, a 1-0 home win preceding a 1-1 draw in Germany in which substitute Samu Chukwueze scored an 88th-minute equaliser to take Villarreal through.
• Villarreal have won three of their five European away games this season although the success at Juventus is one of only four in their last 14 away fixtures in the UEFA Champions League proper (D5 L5).
• This is the Yellow Submarine's third appearance in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds. Semi-finalists on debut in 2005/06, they made it to the quarter-finals three years later – both campaigns ended by Arsenal.
• In 2020/21, Emery's team cruised to first place in UEFA Europa League Group I ahead of Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Sivasspor and Qarabağ to reach the round of 32 for the eighth time before comfortably disposing of UEFA Champions League group stage participants Salzburg (2-0 a, 2-1 h) and Dynamo Kyiv (2-0 a, 2-0 h). They also won both quarter-final matches against Dinamo Zagreb (1-0 a, 2-1 h) and then knocked out Emery's former employers Arsenal in the semi-final (2-1 h, 0-0 a) before beating Manchester United 11-10 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the Gdańsk final. Villarreal were undefeated in Europe in 2020/21 with 11 wins and three draws.
• The defeat of United came in Villarreal's first major European final, though they were twice winners of the UEFA Intertoto Cup (2003, 2004) having finished as runners-up in 2002.
• Seventh in the Spanish Liga in 2020/21, Villarreal's UEFA Europa League triumph means they are playing in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final, for the fourth time, and the first since 2011/12.
• That most recent campaign was also their least successful, Villarreal losing all six games to finish bottom of a section that also included Bayern, Napoli and Manchester City.
• Villarreal were defeated 6-5 on penalties by UEFA Champions League holders Chelsea after a 1-1 draw in the 2021 UEFA Super Cup on 11 August in Belfast.
• With that counted as a draw, the defeat at United on Matchday 2 this season ended Villarreal's 26-match unbeaten run against non-Spanish opposition in European matches (W16 D10), since a 1-0 loss at home to Lyon in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg.
• The win against Arsenal last season made Villarreal's all-time record against Premier League opposition in two-legged UEFA ties W2 L3. It was their first victory since the first of those ties, against Liverpool's neighbours Everton in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round (2-1 a, 2-1 h).
• Villarreal's overall record against English clubs is W5 D9 L7. In England it is W1 D3 L5, a 2-1 victory at Everton on their first visit still their only success. Indeed they have failed to score in all but two of those eight subsequent matches in the country.
Links and trivia
• Emery replaced long-serving Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger in May 2018 and oversaw 78 matches for the Gunners until his dismissal in November 2019. His record against Liverpool was D1 L2 with both defeats at Anfield (1-5, 1-3).
• Emery did, however, enjoy success against Liverpool as Sevilla coach, beating the Reds 3-1 in the 2016 UEFA Europa League final.
• James Milner and Roberto Firmino both started that final for Liverpool, while Divock Origi came on as a second-half substitute and Jordan Henderson was an unused replacement. Alberto Moreno – now with Villarreal – also played for the English club.
• Moreno played for Liverpool between 2014 and 2019, scoring three goals in 90 Premier League appearances before joining Villarreal. He was an unused substitute when Klopp's side won the 2019 UEFA Champions League final 2-0 against Tottenham.
• Have also played in England:
Juan Foyth (Tottenham 2017–20)
Étienne Capoue (Tottenham 2013–15, Watford 2015–21)
Francis Coquelin (Arsenal 2008–18)
Vicente Iborra (Leicester 2017–19)
Dani Parejo (Queens Park Rangers 2008/09 loan)
Arnaut Danjuma (Bournemouth 2019–21)
Serge Aurier (Tottenham 2017–21)
Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham 2019–22)
• Pervis Estupiñán was a Watford player between 2016 and signing for Villarreal in 2020 but never made a first-team appearance.
• Have played in Spain:
Fabinho (Real Madrid 2012/13)
Adrián (Real Betis 1998–2013, Alcalá 2008 loan, Utrera 2009 loan)
Thiago Alcántara (Barcelona 2005–13)
• Diogo Jota joined Atlético from Paços de Ferreira in 2016 but never made a first-team appearance before joining Wolves in 2019 after loan spells with Porto and the English club.
• Sadio Mané and Boulaye Dia both featured together for Senegal in the 2022 CAF Africa Cup of Nations final in February, overcoming Mohamed Salah's Egypt on penalties to win the trophy for the first time. Mané scored the winning penalty in the shoot-out after missing a spot kick in normal time.
• Mané then repeated the feat in March as Senegal beat Egypt in a shoot-out in their 2022 FIFA World Cup play-off after a 1-1 aggregate draw. Dia scored for Senegal in the second leg to send the match to penalties, Salah missing his spot kick in the resulting shoot-out.
• International team-mates:
Sadio Mané & Boulaye Dia (Senegal)
Virgil van Dijk & Arnaut Danjuma (Netherlands)
Thiago Alcántara & Pau Torres, Raúl Albiol, Gerard Moreno, Yeremi Pino (Spain)