May 18, 2022

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Liverpool dominated Villarreal but Klopp's side are well aware that a Champions League return can happen

Liverpool dominated Villarreal but Klopp’s side are well aware that a Champions League return can happen

Liverpool, England – Don’t be fooled by the narrow margin of the score streak. Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Villarreal at Anfield was the most one-sided semi-final you’re likely to watch and could have been so much more for the six-times European champions.

But 2-0 may be more than enough to keep Liverpool’s dream of winning four major titles in one season. Unai Emery’s side still have 90 minutes in the second leg next Tuesday to salvage that tie and reach the Champions League final in Paris on May 28, but it would be against all the logical and statistical evidence to think that Liverpool would succumb to what seems unimaginable Villarreal. defend.

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“It’s 2-0 in the first half [in the tie]Jurgen Klopp said, “This is the best example of a result when you have to be fully alert. We have to be in a good mood 100% and play the second leg the same way we played the first game. The result is good, but we are not finished.”

This competition has certainly given us a lot of great second matches in recent years, including Liverpool overturning from 3-0 down to Barcelona to win 4-0 in the second leg. If Villarreal can eliminate Klopp’s side at La Ceramica, they will be in the same shock league as that unforgettable night at Anfield in May 2019.

But Liverpool’s failure to translate their dominance into a more game-reflexive margin of victory means Villarreal, last season’s European champions, still have a glimmer of hope in the second leg. The “yellow submarine” has ended the European ambitions of Arsenal, Manchester United, Juventus and Bayern Munich over the past 12 months, so Liverpool will not underestimate it, but the reason Klopp’s team took the lead during the first leg was precisely because Liverpool did not underestimate Villarreal.

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Both Juventus and Bayern failed to realize the danger of Villarreal on the counterattack and paid a heavy price, but Liverpool made no such mistake and their defensive focus was just as important as their attacking style. By the end of the match, Liverpool scored 20 attempts on goal compared to Villarreal’s. According to official UEFA statistics, Liverpool scored 93 attacks (Villarreal managed only 15) and completed 645 passes, compared to 182 for Emery’s team. In terms of possession, Liverpool had 68% in 90 minutes.

Their 2-0 win was only due to missed opportunities as well as Villarreal’s organization and defensive discipline. In the first half, the Spanish team offered a skill in defusing the atmosphere, slowing down the match, wasting time and denying Liverpool the playing space at their usual pace. Villarreal’s style frustrated the hosts and pacified the fans – an feat in itself at Anfield on a Champions League night – but there was always a sense that Al Sadd would break if Liverpool continued to advance.

It was all about game management and patience, which made his presence easier Thiago Alcantara In the midfield of Liverpool, where the former Barcelona and Bayern player confirmed that no one in the red shirt panicked from Villarreal’s attempts to stifle the match. But once Fabinho’s goal was disallowed for offside in the 50th minute, it was clear that Liverpool were ready to race through gear in pursuit of the first goal, which came three minutes later when Jordan HendersonGoalkeeper cross hit Jeronimo Rulli After veering through the goal Pervis Estupinan.

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The goal brought greater comfort and urgency, and Sadio Mane Liverpool doubled their lead two minutes later when he slashed the ball under Rowley after he was released Mohamed Salah. In the blink of an eye, Villarreal went from being strong in a tie to having to cling to his tiptoes. Andy Robertson Then he disallowed a goal for offside Virgil van Dijk And Luis Diaz Both came close to scoring, but Villarreal held out to lose by just two goals.

This Liverpool team is too good to give up their two-goal advantage in the Champions League semi-finals, despite having conceded a total of seven goals in Liverpool’s previous two semi-final matches away from home under Klopp, in 2018 and 2019. Defending their lead with a goal One against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu next Wednesday after winning 4-3 in the first leg, Liverpool’s challenge is nothing more than routine.

Klopp will remind his players of that night against Barcelona, ​​when no one gave Liverpool a chance, and urges them to be careful that Villarreal achieve their miraculous comeback.

“I looked at Villarreal and the way they were organized was a lesson for me,” Klopp said. “But we must not forget that we are good too. It will be difficult, but the best way to deal with a 2-0 lead is to ignore it and start over at 0-0.”

But for Villarreal and Emery, there is still a challenge and a belief that they can shock.

“[Liverpool] “They will suffer more from tonight in Villarreal,” Emery said after this match.

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That may be the case, but the truth is that Liverpool and their fans can start making plans for Paris.