Jordan Henderson burst into excitement for Liverpool’s opening goal – and like his team and fans, they can no longer be caught. In 133 seconds, Liverpool finished, in the person of Henderson (53 minutes – as a goal by Villarreal Pervis Estopinan) and Sadio Mane (55) in Villarreal. The Spaniards, based on their nickname “Yellow Submarine”, were subjected to noise on the Anfield Road. That description fit the front page of the LFC – known for its original drawings on European Cup nights – which included an underwater photo on match day. To see: The Reds have around coach Jurgen Klopp as well as Villarreal, as submersible vehicles.
Hidden at the bottom of the sea is the cup handle in the drawing, which Liverpool were unable to find on Wednesday night. The final won’t take place until May 28 in Paris, but the club will likely have at least secured participation in it – given the 2-0 (0-0) dominance of Villarreal in the first leg of the semi-finals of the Premier League class. If Liverpool take the lead at Villarreal on Tuesday, it will be the Reds’ third final in five Champions League rounds under Klopp.
As if the fans at Anfield knew in advance how the match was going to end, they held up a banner at kick-off saying that today was “Another day…” for the club’s album. Even the game’s introduction was once again a scene in its own right. How the stadium, which was almost empty one hour before the start of the match, filled so steadily that the fans allowed the Galilee stadium to appear in all its red splendor just before the start. The fervor with which she sings “You’ll Never Walk Alone” hints at the importance of the game – this time higher than ever this season. Klopp’s longtime friend Campino, lead singer of Die Toten Hosen, also loved it, and sang the anthem out loud alongside Klopp’s wife Ulla.
It looks like Villarreal is ready to stay away from Anfield
who called before Liverpool Echo, the club’s local newspaper, gave the team the match’s slogan in the form of a headline: “Up and with them”. Klopp, who has always been receptive to the full speed of football, applied the mantra directly in his first 11, choosing the strongest attacking formation. The midfield with fixer Fabinho, ball control Thiago and captain Henderson, who ensures aggressiveness and passion – and forward, of course: a fearsome attacking three-javelin, consisting of Salah, Mane and Diaz.
On the pitch, it looked like this: Liverpool gradually increased the number of innings in their patience match against a finely tuned defense of the Spaniards. It took twelve minutes to get his first chance to score when Mane passed with a header from close range. Shortly thereafter, the attacking center retaliated for Salah’s precise shot with Salah’s superb shot on him. However, he missed the point.
In total, the Reds took 12 shots on target in the first half – more than any other 11 in the Premier League semi-final without a goal. The guests didn’t even try to advance themselves. Villarreal coach Unai Emery is known for his defensive intelligence, as he arranged his eleven goals in two narrow rows of four in front of the penalty area. Passive playing behavior looked as if the seventh table in La Liga wanted to rule it out at Anfield. Perhaps the idea behind it was to create a sensation in the second leg with the support of their fans and to remove the third top-tier player from the competition after Juventus Turin and Bayern Munich.
But that hope waned as the second half progressed as Liverpool increased their pace until they broke the resistance. However, Henderson had to enlist the help of Villarreal left-back Pervis Estupinan, who cashed in an untenable cross into the net. Although Emery immediately tried to impress his team with soothing gestures, Liverpool immediately blended in through the opponent’s defence. In the end, Mane could barely help but made it 2-0. Liverpool are now heading to Spain with that reassuring cushion.