Liverpool breeze past Villarreal to close in on Champions League final

Liverpool, April 28 (BNA): Liverpool scored a 2-0 win against Villarreal in the Champions League semi-final first leg against Villarreal on Wednesday, putting Jurgen Klopp’s team on its way to the European Cup for the third time. Final in five seasons.

After the drama of Tuesday’s other semi-final match, which saw Manchester City beat Real Madrid 4-3 at the Etihad Stadium, this competitive match in entertainment has not been easy, Reuters reported.

But Liverpool did enough to make a solid lead in Tuesday’s second leg in Spain where they will be confident to finish the job.

Villarreal defended numbers in the first half to frustrate the six-time European Cup winner, as Thiago Alcantara came close to breaking the deadlock with a thunderous long-range shot that hit the post.

There were several half chances for Liverpool, as Jordan Henderson punched in the side net and Mohamed Salah fired a long shot, while Mane saw a skewed effort past the post.

But for the most part, Unai Emery’s defense has coped well, with Pau Torres in command at the back and the midfield duo of Danny Parejo and Etienne Capoue protecting the area in front of them.

Liverpool raised the half a bit after the break and moments after Brazilian midfielder Fabinho had one offside attempt disallowed, Henderson’s cross was diverted by Pervis Estupinan to break Villarreal’s resistance.

Mohamed Salah was able to express himself after breaking the deadlock, and made a superb pass to Mane to put the match above the visitors after 133 seconds.

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Liverpool put too much pressure on the Spaniards at times and they had chances to make the result more comprehensive.

Andy Robertson received a superb effort that was called off for offside after calling in a cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold, while Virgil van Dijk tried his luck with a long-range thunderbolt that nearly knocked Villarreal goalkeeper Jeronimo Rulli off his feet.

Anfield showed his appreciation at the final whistle, but in truth, this match was more like a group stage match than a quarter-final match.

“They are a very organized team and we knew they were going to make it difficult,” said Henderson. “It was just important that we keep working and believe we’ll break them in the end. We did it with two good goals.”

“The majority of the match, the counter-pressure was really good. It made it difficult for them. But the match is still live and it’s going to be tough at Villarreal.”

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