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Live Match Preview – Liverpool vs Villarreal 27.04.2022


Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he won’t underestimate Villarreal’s ‘world-class’ boss Unai Emery ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg.

Liverpool’s hunt for an unprecedented treble continues this week as they host a Villarreal side at Anfield hoping to make history under head coach Emery by reaching their first ever final. the Champions League.

After beating Manchester United to win the Europa League last season, Villarreal’s success in Europe continued this campaign with impressive victories over Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Villarreal can enter the last four clashes as heavy underdogs but Klopp, who lost to Emery’s Sevilla in the 2016 Europa League final, has vowed not to overlook the threat posed by the former club boss. ‘Arsenal.

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Unai Emery’s Villarreal knocked out Juventus and Bayern Munich in this season’s competition

“Of course we did a proper analysis of it,” Klopp said. “I had a lot of respect for Unai Emery and Villarreal before, because I saw the games against Bayern Munich and Juventus but with one eye.

“But then I looked at them properly: Wow! Awesome. Unai is obviously a detail-obsessed manager who prepares for all different situations in a game. That’s really, really good.

“Different ways to build, different ways to press, different ways to react on different results. Really, really impressive. He’s obviously a world-class coach and he’s doing an amazing job there.”

Villarreal picked up a stunning 3-0 victory over Juventus to secure their place in the last eight, but their elimination of recently crowned Bundesliga champions Bayern was even more impressive.

“We are up against a very, very difficult opponent. They are made for this competition,” Klopp added. “Maybe there was a little advantage in the last two games – maybe Juventus or Bayern underestimated them, but that’s never going to happen with us, especially after those four games.

“They are a very, very good football team who obviously also want to make history. I think it would be the first time they could get to the final, which is huge for Villarreal.

“But for us it’s the same importance. We want to go with everything we have and that’s what we have to show on Wednesday night.”

Liverpool players celebrate Ibrahima Konaté's first game at Anfield
Picture:
Liverpool beat Benfica to reach the Champions League semi-finals

“Beating Liverpool almost impossible”

Spanish football journalist Alvaro Montero speaks to Sky Sports News about the semi-final:

“In Spain, we feel [beating Liverpool] is almost impossible. You have to remember that Villarreal are a club that have come to be one of the top four teams in Europe but they come from a small population of 5,000 so playing against Liverpool for 180 minutes is almost impossible. They will do their best, but in my opinion it will be a huge surprise if they can qualify for the final, which will be their first.

“Unai Emery is not only a good coach, he is good psychologically, but Liverpool have so many good players starting with Mo Salah who is one of the best strikers in the world. Let’s see how Villarreal react and how they perform They have good players, like Gerard Moreno, Arnaut Danjuma and Dani Parejo, but it will be very, very difficult.”

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  • Liverpool have reached the European Cup/Champions League semi-final for the 12th time, with no English team playing in the last four more often (tied with Manchester United). The Reds also reached the semi-finals of the League Cup, FA Cup and European Cup in the same campaign for the first time ever.
  • Of the 12 teams to have reached the European Cup/Champions League semi-finals at least five times, only Benfica (7/8) and AC Milan (10/12) have a qualification rate in final higher than Liverpool. (82 per cent), who have managed to reach the final on nine of their last 11 occasions.
  • It will be the fourth time in Villarreal’s last five semi-finals in major European competition to see them face English opponents in the last four stage, with their only other meeting in this competition coming against Arsenal in 2005-06.
  • It was only in 2017-18 (10) that Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah scored more Champions League goals in a single campaign than the eight he has scored this season, taking his tally for the club to 33 The Egyptian is now just three behind Didier Drogba (Chelsea) and Sergio Aguero (Man City) for the most goals scored in the competition for an English side (36 each).
  • Since the start of the 2009-10 season, the inaugural Europa League campaign, Villareal manager Unai Emery has gone from 84% of his Europa League/Champions League knockout matches (31/37), the second-best ratio of any manager to have taken charge of at least 10, after only Zinedine Zidane (14/16 – 88%).

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Jamie Carragher dives deep into the stats and analyzes how Liverpool and Man City could slip in the title race

Liverpool match schedule

April 27 – Villarreal (h), Champions League semi-final first leg

April 30 – Newcastle United (a)

May 3 – Villarreal (a), Champions League semi-final second leg

May 7 – Tottenham (h)

May 10 – Aston Villa (a), live on Sky Sports

May 14 – Chelsea (n), FA Cup Final

Date to be confirmed – Southampton (a), live on Sky Sports

May 22 – Wolves (h)




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