Villarreal will need just their third home win of the campaign if they are to prevent Liverpool from reaching their third UEFA Champions League final in five seasons.
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Villarreal have plenty of work to do to keep alive their hopes of reaching a first UEFA Champions League final as Liverpool, who are aiming for their third in five seasons, travel to Spain defending a 2-0 first-leg lead.As it happened: Liverpool 2-0 Villarreal
• The English side dominated the first leg at Anfield on 27 April, Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcántara both striking the woodwork in the first half, but needed a stroke of luck to open the scoring, Henderson's 53rd-minute cross deflecting in off Pervis Estupiñán.
Two minutes later, Sadio Mané poked in Mohamed Salah's through ball to put the Reds in sight of their tenth European Cup final.
• While this is Liverpool's third UEFA Champions League semi-final in five seasons, with victories in the previous two, Villarreal's only previous appearance came 16 years ago – and ended in defeat against English opponents – although impressive results against Juventus and Bayern München in this season's competition give cause for optimism.
• Liverpool boast a formidable recent away record in the UEFA Champions League, winning all five away games in this season's competition including victories at Inter and Benfica in the knockout rounds.
• Both of Villarreal's previous forays into the competition's knockout rounds have been ended by English opponents and they have never beaten a Premier League club in 13 previous attempts in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final (D6 L7), losing the last six matches.
• The sides' only previous fixtures before this tie 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.
• 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.
• Only four of Villarreal's points came at home, where they drew 2-2 against Atalanta on Matchday 1 and beat Young Boys 2-0 before losing to United.
• Villarreal were held 1-1 at home by Juventus in the round of 16 first 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.
• The first-leg win against Bayern is one of only two Villarreal victories in their last ten games at home in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final (D5 L3), the other coming against Young Boys on Matchday 4. They won all six home games in last season's UEFA Europa League and were unbeaten in eight home European matches (W7 D1) before losing to Manchester United on Matchday 5.
• 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. United were the only foreign side to have beaten them in UEFA competition, home or away, since then before their first-leg defeat at Anfield.
• 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 L8. They have won four of their ten home games against Premier League visitors, this season's defeat by Manchester United only their second loss. Only once, in their first match against a Premier League club, a 2-0 win at home to Middlesbrough in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup group stage, have they defeated English opponents by a margin of more than one goal.
• Villarreal have won three of the seven European ties in which they have lost the first leg away, suffering elimination in the most recent, against Lyon in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League round of 32 (1-3 a, 0-1 h). The only time they have turned around a two-goal away defeat was in the 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup third round, when they beat Torino on penalties after the teams had both won 2-0 at home. That is Villarreal's sole previous 0-2 first-leg away defeat, the Lyon tie the only other in which they had to retrieve a two-goal deficit at home in the second leg.
• Villarreal's record in four UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W3 L1:
4-3 v Torino, 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup third round
3-1 v Atlético de Madrid, 2004 UEFA Intertoto Cup final
11-10 v Manchester United, 2020/21 UEFA Europa League final
5-6 v Chelsea, 2021 UEFA Super Cup
• 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 lost their last four away games at this stage of the UEFA Champions League, conceding 11 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.
• Liverpool had lost three of their last four away games in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds before this season (W1).
• The Reds 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 11 of their last 14 UEFA Champions League matches away from Anfield (D1 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 and Villarreal have made it five victories in Liverpool's last 17 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 Matchday 3 success at Atlético ended Liverpol's seven-game run without a win away to Spanish sides (D1 L6), since a 1-0 victory at Real Madrid in 2009, although their overall away record in Spain is W8 D5 L8. Furthermore, they defeated Tottenham in the 2019 UEFA Champions League final in Madrid.
• Liverpool have triumphed in 32 UEFA competition ties when they have won the home first leg and lost only five. On each of the eight occasions that they have won the first leg at home 2-0 they have gone on to win the tie, including against Porto in the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals (4-1 a), the most recent tie in which they recorded a home first-leg victory. Their only aggregate loss after a two-goal winning margin in the home first leg came in the 1964/65 European Cup semi-final against Inter when a 3-1 home win was overturned by a 3-0 reverse in Italy.
• Liverpool's record in five UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W4 L1:
4-2 v Roma, 1983/84 European Champion Clubs' Cup final
3-2 v AC Milan, 2004/05 UEFA Champions League final
4-1 v Chelsea, 2006/07 UEFA Champions League semi-final
4-5 v Beşiktaş, 2014/15 UEFA Europa League round of 32
5-4 v Chelsea, 2019 UEFA Super Cup
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 Klopp's Liverpool as Sevilla coach, beating the Reds 3-1 in the 2016 UEFA Europa League final.
• Milner and Firmino both started that final for Liverpool, while Divock Origi came on as a second-half substitute and 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)
• 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.
• Mané and Boulaye Dia featured together for Senegal in the 2022 CAF Africa Cup of Nations final in February, overcoming 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:
Boulaye Dia & Sadio Mané (Senegal)
Arnaut Danjuma & Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands)
Pau Torres, Raúl Albiol, Gerard Moreno, Yeremi Pino & Thiago Alcántara (Spain)
• Defeat at Anfield ended Villarreal's five-match unbeaten run in all competitions. The Yellow Submarine had lost three of their previous five matches, winning the other two, before that unbeaten run.
• Villarreal were also beaten on Saturday, going down 2-1 at Alavés in the Liga. Samu Chukwueze scored their goal, his third in the league this season and his first since 18 December.
• The losses at Anfield and Alavés mean Villarreal have won just nine of 26 away matches in all competitions this season, losing 11 including seven of the last 12. Three of those nine away wins have come in the UEFA Champions League.
• However, a 2-0 Liga victory against Valencia on 19 April made it 12 home games without defeat in all competitions for Unai Emery's side (W8 D4).
• Villarreal have lost only three of their 22 home games this season (W12 D7).
• Arnaut Danjuma, who scored the only goal in the first-leg defeat of Bayern, scored both against Valencia to take his club tally to 16 for the season in all competitions. The Dutchman has six goals in this season's UEFA Champions League, including four in his last six appearances; he did not play on Saturday.
• Gerard Moreno, who was out with a calf injury between 6 February and 16 March, scored in a 2-1 victory at Getafe on 16 April before coming off injured with a hamstring problem. He has not played since.
• Alberto Moreno suffered a ruptured cruciate ligament in a 1-0 defeat at Osasuna on 5 March and is likely to be sidelined for the rest of the season.
• Francis Coquelin, who was out with a ruptured Achilles between 20 November and 5 March, returned to start in the first leg having been sidelined by injury since the second leg at Bayern, although he missed Saturday's game.
• Yeremi Pino was substituted at half-time against Valencia with a hamstring injury and missed the first leg and Saturday's loss at Alavés.
• Raúl Albiol was also absent at the weekend having picked up a knock in the first leg at Liverpool.
• Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 12 games in all competitions (W10 D2), Naby Keïta's third Premier League goal of the season enough to earn a 1-0 win at Newcastle on Saturday.
• That was Liverpool's 42nd victory in all competitions this season. Only three English top-flight clubs have ever won more in a campaign: Everton (43 in 1984/85), Manchester City (44 in 2017/18, 47 in 2020/21, 50 in 2018/19) and Manchester United (44 in 2008/09).
• The 1-0 home defeat against Inter in the round of 16 second leg is Liverpool's only loss in their last 28 matches in all competitions (W22 D5).
• The Reds have lost only two of their 27 away games in all competitions this season (W21 D4), and are unbeaten on their travels since a 1-0 Premier League loss at Leicester on 28 December. Their subsequent away record is W10 D2.
• Liverpool have not lost an away match by a two-goal margin since the 3-1 defeat at Real Madrid in last season's quarter-final first leg.
• The Reds had recorded ten clean sheets in 13 matches before the quarter-final first leg at Benfica; they conceded eight goals in their next four games but have now managed four successive shut-outs.
• Jürgen Klopp's side have suffered only two defeats in their 34 Premier League games this season (W24 D7), winning ten in a row before drawing 2-2 at Manchester City on 10 April.
• Mohamed Salah ended a run of six Liverpool games without a goal with two in a 4-0 win against Manchester United at Anfield on 19 April. That made it 30 goals for the season in all competitions.
• Salah, who was voted the 2021/22 Football Writers' Association Men's Footballer of the Year on 29 April, winning the award for the second time, is the Premier League's top scorer this season on 22 goals. Diogo Jota is fourth on 15 with Sadio Mané fifth on 14.
• On 16 April Liverpool reached the FA Cup final for the 15th time, and the first since 2012, with a 3-2 win against Manchester City at Wembley. Mané scored twice after Ibrahima Konaté had found for the net in his third successive appearance.
• Liverpool will play Chelsea in the final at Wembley on 14 May.
• On 27 February the Reds won the League Cup for the record ninth time, also in the final against Chelsea, beating the London club 11-10 on penalties at Wembley after a goalless 120 minutes.
• The Reds had been level with Manchester City on eight League Cup wins.
• Aged 36 years 54 days, James Milner became the oldest player to represent Liverpool at Wembley in the final, beating Kenny Dalglish's record (36 years 32 days). Harvey Elliott, aged 18 years 329 days, was the club's youngest Wembley player and the first 18-year-old to appear for Liverpool in a major final.
• Roberto Firmino, who scored twice in the quarter-final second leg against Benfica, has not played since 16 April due to a foot injury.
• Divock Origi missed Saturday's win at Newcastle due to illness.
• On 28 April Klopp, plus assistants Pepijn Lijnders and Peter Krawietz, extended their contracts until 2026; the trio's previous deals had been due to expire in 2024.