- Match Analysis
Liverpool travel to Spain to face Villarreal in the Europa League semi-final first leg tonight, and it’s another massive game for Jurgen Klopp in his first season at Anfield.
It’s almost a miracle that Liverpool are in the semis, after somehow finding the 3 goals they needed in half an hour in the quarter final 2nd leg against Borussia Dortmund, sending Anfield crazy.
And now, Jurgen Klopp’s injury-plagued squad face Villarreal, who sit 4th in La Liga and have already beaten Barcelona and Sevilla this season. Klopp has never won a UEFA game in Spain before but will be looking to set that record straight and guide Liverpool to the final in Basel.
Liverpool will be without plenty of key players for Thursday night’s tie. Emre Can (ankle), Joe Gomez (knee), Jordan Henderson (knee), Divock Origi (ankle) and Danny Ings (knee) are will all miss out.
However, Christian Benteke is fit again and, despite not giving the most successful debut season at Anfield, gives Klopp another attacking option than just Daniel Sturridge, with Origi out for the season.
Meanwhile, Villarreal head coach Marcelino can boast about his side’s very strong home record throughout their Europa League campaign. ‘The Yellow Submarine’ have won every game in Europe at El Madrigal, conceding just one goal.
In La Liga, Villarreal have performed above expectations and are currently fourth in the league standings. However, they have failed to win their previous three league games.
This will be Liverpool’s fourth European semi-final against a Spanish side; they’ve progressed from two of those but were eliminated last time versus Atletico Madrid in the 2009/10 Europa League semi-finals.
By Ben Kelly – @benkelly_10
Here are the best Villarreal vs Liverpool betting odds:
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