- Match Analysis
Liverpool make the trip to Spain tonight to take on La Liga side Villarreal in the first leg of the Europa League Semi-Finals.
The Reds are aiming to follow on from a thrilling comeback against Borussia Dortmund in the previous round, while Villarreal defeated Sparta Prague in the Quarter-Finals. While the home side sit in fourth place, Liverpool are a bit lower in the Premier League, down in seventh position.
Here is a combined eleven comprised of players from these two sides who are available tonight, with the exception of Divock Origi.
GOALKEEPER: Alphonse Areola (Villarreal)
Liverpool have had problems between the sticks for most of this season, Simon Mignolet being too inconsistent. Although Mignolet was immense against Dortmund, he has just not shown that kind of form often enough this season. Areola has looked far more solid this season, and has played his part in the side being where they are in La Liga, in fourth position.
RIGHT-BACK: Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool)
The England defender gets the nod here over Villarreal counterpart Mario Gaspar. Clyne is a true workhorse, and helps Liverpool with his forward runs. Another who found his form against Dortmund, and will be needed to produce again tonight.
CENTRE-BACK: Eric Bertrand: (Villarreal)
Looks a very solid centre-back, despite only being 22 years old. He is adept at keeping opposition strikers off the ball, and the Ivorian delivered a fine performance against Sparta Prague. Also gets the nod here ahead of the suspended Mamadou Sakho.
CENTRE-BACK: Dejan Lovren (Liverpool)
Lovren was another who imposed himself against Dortmund, and is capable of finding the net. Good in the air, and is now establishing himself at Anfield after a sluggish start following his move from Southampton.
LEFT-BACK: Alberto Moreno (Liverpool)
Has impressed this season with his displays. Is in this side ahead of Villarreal’s Antonio Rukavina. Good going forward, while not neglecting his defensive duties. Kept Mkhitaryan quiet in the Dortmund tie.
RIGHT-WING: Denis Suarez (Villarreal)
Whilst adept in an advanced role behind the forward, Suarez does a lot of damage on the right side of midfield. Was very impressive against Sparta, just like most of this season. Also produced more assists in the Europa League this season than Adam Lallana (six to one)
CENTRE MIDFIELD: James Milner (Liverpool)
Mr Dependable in the Liverpool and England midfield, you know what you get with James Milner. Does the hard work in the centre of the park, allowing others to focus on the creative side of things.
LEFT-WING: Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
The Brazilian is fast, creative, and able to turn a game with a fine piece of skill. The Reds will look to him to provide the spark which could turn the tie in their favour.
RIGHT-FORWARD: Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
His stock has raised significantly since the arrival of Jurgen Klopp. He links well with his fellow forwards, and has the ability to make defenders look rather silly.
CENTRE-FORWARD: Cedric Bakambu (Villarreal)
Gets the start in this combined eleven due to Daniel Sturridge being rather prone to injury, and the fact that Bakambu is strong, in the mould of the archetypal centre forward. Scored a double in both legs against Sparta.
LEFT-FORWARD: Divock Origi (Liverpool)
The Reds fans are starting to take the Belgian to their hearts, and is a constant threat of opposition defences. Unfortunately for Liverpool, Origi does not feature tonight, but he still gets the nod ahead of any of the other Villarreal forwards who, apart from Bakambu, have not regularly hit the net often enough to warrant a start here
By Steve Osborne @BlizzardSteve75