UEFA Champions League: Villarreal need miracle to overturn 2-0 deficit against Liverpool

UEFA Champions League: Villarreal need miracle to overturn 2-0 deficit against Liverpool

Liverpool have lost just once in 2022-a 1-0 home defeat to Inter Milan in the Champions League.

Jurgen Klopp’s team has played 28 matches and won 23. The Reds have scored 61 goals and conceded 16 goals in that sequence.

But you cannot dismiss Unai Emery’s men, especially when playing at Estadio de la Cerámica, where they have not lost in 2022.

The albatross could be the number of goals needed to dislodge Klopp’s rampant team while keeping their doors shut.

In 10 matches in all competitions at the Ceramica in 2022, the Yellow Submarine have six victories in which they scored 21 goals and conceded five.

They scored two or more goals in five matches. Five against Levante and Espanyol; two goals against Valencia and Atletico Madrid, and three against Mallorca.

Emery agrees the task to score more than twice against Liverpool is ‘complicated’ but achievable because of their excellent home form. “We are in good home form. Starting 2-0 behind is complicated.

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“We will seek to create situations in the game to allow us to come close to equalising. The removal of the away goals rule benefits us.

“The home factor was key for Liverpool, but we managed to defend well and avoid giving them more of an advantage.

“We are psyched up to play our game. We want to enjoy this moment with our fans,” Emery added.

Liverpool have won all five consecutive away matches in the 2021/22 UCL season and scored 15 goals in those matches, conceding five.

Though leading by two clear goals, Klopp expects a tough second leg. “We have to be ready to play a top game because they will go for us with a high press and try to play much more football than we allowed them to in the first leg.

“Unai [Emery] will try to adapt a few things to our style. We never expect a Champions League semi-final to be easy, and this one won’t be.

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“You never know if we will ever have a chance to go to the final again, so you’d better treat it carefully and be ready–and we will be,” Klopp added.

In 14 visits to Spain in the Champions League since 2001, Liverpool have lost just four times while Villarreal have won just once in five visits from English teams. That was a 2-1 win over Everton in 2005 in a UCL Third qualifying round match.

Can Villarreal buck their underdog tag and rewrite history on Tuesday? Unlikely, but not impossible!

Current Form: Villarreal [L-L-W-W-D]; Liverpool [W-W-W-W-W]

Head-to-head

27/04/22 UCL Liverpool 2 – 0 Villarreal
05/05/16 UEL Liverpool 3 – 0 Villarreal
28/04/16 UEL Villarreal 1 – 0 Liverpool

Injuries and absences

Emery may once again have to do without his most lethal striker Gerard Moreno, who also missed the first leg.

Captain Raul Albiol and Francis Coquelin will be assessed before the match but both Yeremi Pino and former Liverpool defender Alberto Moreno will miss the encounter while Liverpool’s only injury absence is Roberto Firmino.

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