Liverpool vs Villarreal LIVE Football Score 3 May 2022
Seeking to pull off another remarkable Champions League upset, Villarreal travel to Anfield for the first leg of their semi-final with Liverpool on Wednesday night.
Jurgen Klopp’s side defeated Benfica 6-4 on aggregate in the quarter-finals, while the Yellow Submarine sent Bayern Munich packing to make the final four
All eyes were on Benfica talisman Darwin Nunez during the second leg of his side’s quarter-final at Anfield, and the in-demand Uruguayan certainly delivered, but Liverpool carved their way through the veteran backline of Jan Vertonghen and Nicolas Otamendi three times themselves to inch closer to continental glory.
With just under a month to go before the curtain closes on the 2021-22 campaign, Liverpool could yet add an unprecedented haul of four trophies to their brimming cabinet, although the Premier League title remains out of their hands heading into the final straight.
There was time for one last swansong for Divock Origi in Sunday’s Merseyside derby, with the Belgian attacker heading home late on against Everton after Andy Robertson had broken the deadlock, and the Reds enter the first leg with Villarreal on a three-game winning streak in all competitions.
Never before have Liverpool taken part in the semi-finals of the Champions League, FA Cup and EFL Cup in one season, and while they failed to beat both Benfica and Inter Milan during their knockout legs at Anfield, Klopp’s side had already settled the tie in the first legs.
Wednesday’s first leg will represent the eighth game of a hectic April schedule for Liverpool, who have managed to score at least two goals in every game since the start of the month, but Unai Emery and Villarreal demand plenty of respect before the Spaniard’s return to English turf.
Ironically, the Yellow Submarine were not the ones being sunk by two European heavyweights in the previous Champions League rounds, with Juventus and most recently Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich failing to find the formula for success against Emery’s well-drilled side.
After shutting Julian Nagelsmann’s side out in a 1-0 first-leg win where the margin of victory should arguably have been greater, Villarreal held their own on the Allianz Arena turf and left with a 2-1 aggregate success after Samuel Chukwueze’s 88th-minute response to Robert Lewandowski’s strike.
Emery’s men have already faced two major tests of their European mettle and should therefore travel to Merseyside with unbridled optimism about their chances of gleaning a positive result, and their La Liga fortunes have also improved with back-to-back wins over Getafe and Valencia.
Winning three and drawing one of their four Champions League games on the road since going down to Manchester United back in September, Villarreal have found the back of the net in all of those encounters on rival turf so far, but their only previous semi-final appearance in the 2005-06 season ended in defeat to English opposition in Arsenal.
The modest club from Castellon have met Liverpool twice before in the semi-finals of the 2015-16 Europa League – winning 1-0 at La Ceramica in the first leg before a 3-0 Anfield defeat – and Emery’s penchant for European knockout ties (advancing 31 times out of 37) ought to lead to a few nervous glances from the Kop on Wednesday night – only Zinedine Zidane has a better progression rate in that department.
Liverpool’s squad remains in tremendous shape ahead of the first leg, with Roberto Firmino once again the only doubt for the home side after his foot injury kept him out of the Merseyside derby.
Klopp otherwise has a full list of options to pick from and is expected to bring Ibrahima Konate straight back into the side, with the Frenchman scoring in both legs of the quarter-final win over Benfica.
Jordan Henderson and Luis Diaz can also anticipate recalls to the first XI after finding themselves among the substitutes at the weekend, while Mohamed Salah needs just four more Champions League goals to set a new record for English clubs in the competition; the Egyptian’s 33 is only bettered by Sergio Aguero and Didier Drogba’s 36.
Meanwhile, former Liverpool left-back Alberto Moreno will not be reuniting with his former club this week as he remains on the comeback trail from a ruptured cruciate ligament, while star attacker Gerard Moreno is also set to miss out.
The 30-year-old could return from a hamstring problem in time for the second leg but is not expected to take part at Anfield, while Francis Coquelin has been training with the group and should be fine to take his place in the XI. Yeremi Pino has also picked up a fresh hamstring injury and will be absent.
As a result, the only real dilemma for Emery lies in the attacking third, with Chukwueze and Manu Trigueros battling to deputise for Moreno alongside Arnaut Danjuma, who has been linked with a move to Liverpool in recent months.