UEFA : Villarreal v Liverpool: reaction and analysis
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, Villarreal are eyeing an upset.
Expert analysis: Simon Hart
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.
10 – Villarreal are winless in their last 10 games against English opposition (D6 L4). Underwater.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 15, 2016
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.
— Newstalk Sport (@NewstalkSport) April 15, 2016
Liverpool’s only previous meeting with Villarreal was a pre-season friendly in 2008. pic.twitter.com/UwqLZxErR2
— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) April 15, 2016
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)