Villarreal v Liverpool: reaction and analysis
Saturday, April 16, 2016
The odds seem stacked in Liverpool's favour after they were paired with the Yellow Submarine in the semi-finals, but with Cédric Bakambu on song, Jürgen Klopp knows better.
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Expert analysis: Simon Hart (@UEFAcomSimonH)
Anything is possible for Liverpool after their quarter-final second-leg comeback against Dortmund. They are 12 games unbeaten in the competition and will be confident of reaching what would be a 12th European final as they meet a Villarreal side who have never contested a single one. The fact the second leg will take place at Anfield only adds to the sense this could be the three-time UEFA Cup winners' year (again).
Facts about the tie
- The sides have never met in UEFA competition, but both have experience against opponents from the other country in major European semi-finals.
- Jens Lehmann's last-gasp penalty save from Juan Riquelme in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League took Arsenal into the final at the expense of Manuel Pellegrini's Spanish side. Had he scored, the game would have gone to extra time.
- Liverpool have had three previous semi-finals against Spanish sides in the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League, most recently an away-goals defeat against Atlético Madrid in 2010. They twice beat Barcelona by the odd goal, in 2001 and 1976 – and went on to lift the trophy both times.
Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool manager
It's not about dreaming of the Champions League or the final – we have not played one minute in the semi-final so how could we do that? Villarreal are not there because all the other opponents could not play football. They are unbelievably strong. It's not a problem. It's a nice opportunity to have these two games. But before this, we have to do a few other things.
Marcos Senna, former Villarreal player
We are going to a historic stadium where it's amazing to play, It's what we wanted – we want to play the final against Sevilla, but that is a way off yet. We have to keep doing what we have been doing in the previous rounds. The team are very well prepared. There are no favourites any more.
Last SF: 2010/11 (lost 7-4 v Porto)
SF record: W0 L2
UEFA Cup/Europa League best: semi-finals (2004, 2011)
This season: W8 D3 L1 F22 A10 (entry: group stage)
Top scorer: Cédric Bakambu (9)
Last SF: 2009/10 (2-2, lost on away goals v Atlético)
SF record: W3 L2
UEFA Cup/Europa League best: winners (1973, 1976, 2001)
This season: W6 D6 L0 F15 A9 (entry: group stage)
Top scorers: James Milner, Adam Lallana, Divock Origi, Philippe Coutinho (2)