Liverpool vs Villarreal predictions and match preview for Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League fixture. Read on for the head-to-head, team news and predicted lineups as Unai Emery takes his side to Anfield.
|Date||Wednesday 27th April 2022|
|Kick-Off||20:00 (local time)|
|Competition||UEFA Champions League Semi-Final 2nd Leg|
Liverpool vs Villarreal Preview
Villarreal face a daunting trip to Anfield for the 1st Leg of their UEFA Champions League Semi-Final this week. Away to what is quite possibly the strongest team in Europe right now, they face a tough test but the Yellow Submarine have risen to every European challenge they’ve faced over the past 18 months and should not be written off here.
This is a Villarreal side that has played 26 European matches since the start of last term when Euro-specialist Unai Emery took charge. They’ve only twice been beaten inside 90 minutes during that period with both defeats coming in somewhat unfortunate fashion against Manchester United. Few expected them to get anywhere near this far in the Champions League following on from Europa League glory last term but Villarreal have gone on an epic UCL journey to reach their second Semi-Final in this competition, 16 years after the first.
After winning their decisive final group game away to Atalanta, Villarreal have defeated Juventus and Bayern Munich over two legs. In both cases they were away second time around with Samuel Chukwueze’s late goal enough to seal a shock win over the German champions in the last round.
Going to Merseyside first will provide a different kind of challenge for Emery’s men and it’ll be interesting to see how he approaches it. Villarreal have won both league games since that memorable night in Munich but have been sweating over the fitness of key forward Gerard Moreno who limped off against Getafe. They could really do with him being fit but if not, Villarreal may still have some joy playing on the break with the impressive Arnaut Danjuma leading the line.
Liverpool will be conscious of that but couldn’t really take much more confidence into this game. They are still competing for what would be an unprecedented quadruple with the English League Cup in the bag and an FA Cup Final to come while they are only a point off Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title. Their domestic commitments haven’t proved much of a distraction to date in the Champions League with Jurgen Klopp able to rotate and rest players in the 2nd Leg of their Quarter-Final victory over Benfica.
Ominously for Villarreal though, they’ve produced some of their very best football in recent weeks, seeing off Manchester City in an FA Cup Semi-Final before hammering Manchester United 4-0 at Anfield in the Premier League. They’ve netted 85 goals in 33 Premier League games this season, conceding only 22. It’s very hard to find any serious flaws in this Liverpool side and as such this represents another step up for Villarreal on anything they’ve faced on this memorable European journey since Emery took over.
Head to Head
- The sides have only met once before in Europe and that was a Europa League Semi-Final in 2016.
- Villarreal won the 1st Leg 1-0 but lost the return at Anfield 3-0.
Roberto Firmino is a doubt for Liverpool but is no longer a guaranteed starter. Otherwise Jurgen Klopp’s men should be at full strength.
Former Red Alberto Moreno is out for the season for the visitors whose main concerns are Francis Coquelin and Gerard Moreno heading into this game.
Liverpool vs Villarreal Predictions
Score Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Villarreal
Liverpool are the clear favourites to progress from this tie but Villarreal are more than comfortable with the underdog tag having already knocked out European giants in the shape of Juventus and Bayern Munich so far this season. They may struggle to avoid defeat here but even if Gerard Moreno doesn’t make it, they have a real dangerman in the shape of Danjuma and could nick a goal that should keep them in the tie heading into next week’s 2nd Leg in Spain.
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