Liverpool took a giant stride towards another Champions League final after beating Spanish La Liga side Villarreal at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp’s quadruple-chasing Reds had to demonstrate patience to break down a Villarreal side well organized by European specialist Unai Emery.
Liverpool wins UCL first Leg Clash Against Villarreal
The Reds were held at bay despite creating all the chances and needed a touch of fortune to break the deadlock after 53 minutes when Jordan Henderson’s cross was deflected beyond Villarreal keeper Geronimo Rulli by Pervis Estupinan.
Senegalese skipper Sadio Mane increased Liverpool’s winning margin to two when he touched Mohamed Salah’s pass beyond Rulli two minutes later. The second leg will be in Spain and it comes up next Tuesday but Liverpool now looks firmly on course to meet either Manchester City or Real Madrid in the final in Paris in May.
The English Premier League side just seems to be gathering unstoppable momentum as all challenges, even from a Villarreal side that claimed the scalps of Juventus and Bayern Munich in the previous rounds, are overcome.
Villarreal set out to take the sting out of the home team from the first whistle, taking an age over goal-kicks and other restarts, but unlike the frustration that overtook them at times against Everton at Anfield on Sunday, Liverpool remained composed, seemingly safe in their knowledge that their chance would come.
Liverpool now turns their attention back to the Premier League pursuit of Manchester City when they travel to in-form Newcastle United on Saturday (12:30 BST). The historic quadruple is still on and the celebrations at the final whistle here suggested the Kop believes that what most observers thought was impossible is now a genuine possibility.