Champions League Betting Tips

Liverpool vs Villarreal betting tips: Champions League semi-final first leg preview, predictions and odds

Liverpool have only won two of their last five knockout matches at home to Spanish clubs. However, the Reds are unbeaten at Anfield in European Cup semi-finals, winning nine of 11 matches.

Villarreal have won two of five previous two-legged ties against English clubs, beating Everton in 2005 and Arsenal last season. However, the Yellow Submarine are winless in 12 Champions League matches against English clubs, drawing six and losing six (excluding qualifiers). 

Under 2.5 goals is 11/8.

Under 2.5 goals and both teams to score NO is 7/4.

Liverpool to win and both teams to score NO is 11/10.

Liverpool to win and under 2.5 goals is 11/4.

Mohamed Salah has scored 33 goals in 53 Champions League appearances for Liverpool. He is 3/1 to break the deadlock and 8/11 to score anytime.

Match preview

Will Liverpool stay on course for a tenth European Cup Final as they, ultimately, bid to become European champions for the seventh time?

To a certain extend, Jürgen Klopp's side have cruised through to the semi-finals, first winning all six group matches against Atlético Madrid, Porto and A.C. Milan.

They've subsequently dumped out Internazionale and Benfica, building up substantial first leg leads away, thereby making the return games at home a near-formality.

This time though, the Reds start on Merseyside, but the formulae stays the same as they'll hope to take an insurmountable advantage to Spain next Tuesday.

Of course, Liverpool could still become the first men's English team to win the quadruple with three trophies up for grabs next month.

Last week, in the space of eight days, the Reds beat Manchester City in an FA Cup semi-final, before home wins over their biggest rivals Manchester United and Everton.

On Sunday, they were frustrated for so long, but Andy Robertson broke the deadlock before super sub Divock Origi secured a 2-0 derby day win.

This leaves Liverpool one point behind Man City, and win an FA Cup Final against Chelsea to look forward to.

In contrast to their illustrious hosts, Villarreal's run to just a second-ever Champions League semi-final has been a fairytale.

El Submarino Amarillo only got into the competition by lifting last season's Europa League, defeating Man United in the final to win their first piece of major silverware.

However, they've fully grasped the opportunity, knocking out Atalanta, Juventus and then Bayern Munich to get this far.

Against the Bundesliga champions, with the score 1-1 on aggregate, Samu Chukwueze smashed home a last-minute winner, thereby silencing the Allianz Arena.

Head Coach Unai Emery has now won 22 of his last 24 two-legged knockout ties, with both defeats coming as PSG boss.

The four-times Europa League winning manager is now dreaming of taking this provincial Spanish club to a first-ever European Cup Final.

The visitors will be well-rested as this is their first game for eight days.

Last Tuesday, Arnaut Danjuma's brace downed Valencia 2-0 in Derbi de la Comunitat, but they remain seventh in La Liga, nine points off fourth.

Having already won at Juventus and drawn in Munich, can Villarreal spring an even bigger surprise at Anfield?

Liverpool team news

With Jürgen Klopp's team fighting on three fronts, the game are coming thick and fast so some rotation is required.

Ibrahima Konaté is expected to return at centre-back, displacing Joël Matip, as Virgil van Dijk's partner.

The Frenchman has scored headers from corner the last three times he has started, twice against Benfica and against Man City at Wembley.

Fabinho and Thiago are virtual ever-presents in midfield, with Jordan Henderson and Naby Keïta battling it out for the third place.

In attack, Klopp has five, possibly six if you include wildcard Divock Origi, players vying for just three spots.

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané always start but, on the left-wing, Luis Díaz could get the nod over Diogo Jota this time.

Roberto Firmino missed the Merseyside derby due to an injury, but could be back for this one.

Villarreal team news

As mentioned, Villarreal haven't played for over a week and are very much out of top four contention domestically.

So, it's full focus on this competition for Unai Emery's team.

Former Liverpool left-back Alberto Moreno is out long-term, meaning Pervis Estupiñán will continue to deputise.

A bigger blow is the absence of Gerard Moreno, who's season has been blighted by injury and he's likely to miss both legs of this tie too.

So, Arnaut Danjuma, who's scored 16 goals this season, including six in the Champions League, will continue to lead the line.

Giovani Lo Celso, who's been sparkling since arriving from Tottenham on loan in January, will be in support.

Other former Premier League players who could start include Juan Foyth, Étienne Capoue, Francis Coquelin and Dani Parejo.

Manu Trigueros and Mario Gasper both featured when Villarreal last visited Anfield for a Europa League semi-final six years ago.

Premier League table:

La Liga table:

Ben Gray

Ben Gray

Arsenal fan – follow them over land and sea (and Leicester); sofa Celtic supporter; a bit of a football '"encyclopedia".

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