Liverpool and Villarreal played out their second Champions League semi-final leg on Tuesday evening.
The Reds headed into the encounter as clear favourites to progress after beating a resilient Villarreal 2-0 in the previous leg at Anfield.
And, when all was said and done at the El Madrigal, it was indeed Jurgen Klopp and co. who booked their spot at the competition’s showpiece later this month in Paris.
Villarreal got off to a shaky start, misplacing several passes inside the first minute. However, the Spanish side would take the lead minutes later.
Pervis Estupinan floated a cross into the Liverpool box, which Etienne Capoue cut back to Boulaye Dia.
Villarreal continued to dominate the first half and would get a second goal 40 minutes in when Francis Coquelin rose highest to head in Capoue’s cross.
After arguably their worst half of the season, Liverpool were much brighter in the second 45 and got their goal shortly after an hour thanks to a major howler from the Villarreal keeper.
Luis Diaz then added the Reds’ second of the day to kill the tie off and book Liverpool a spot in Paris, with Sadio Mane then making it 3-2 on the night 74 minutes in.
Villarreal player ratings
Gero Rulli (1) – Simply awful keeping for all three of Liverpool’s goals.
Juan Foyth (4.5) – Not as impressive as his full-back teammate but still won a number of aerial duels in the first half. Struggled to deal with the pace of Diaz when he was brought on.
Raul Albiol (5) – Made a couple of good blocks throughout the game, but was unable to cope with the pace of Liverpool’s attack in the second half.
Pau Torres (5) – Nervy start but settled into the game well and helped keep Salah from having too much of an impact in the first half. Lost his head late on.
Pervis Estupinan (5.5) – Great cross in the build-up to the opener. Was less impactful as the game wore on.
Giovani Lo Celso (6) – Caused Liverpool some problems with good balls in behind.
Etienne Capoue (6.5) – Clever play to cut Estupinan’s cross back to Dia for the opener. Another great ball to set up Coquelin for Villarreal’s second. Like the rest of Villarreal's side, however, he collapsed in the second half and was sent off.
Dani Parejo (5) – A quiet and largely ineffective outing.
Francis Coquelin (6) – Really asserted himself on Liverpool’s midfield in the first half and of course scored Villarreal’s second. Struggled to cope with the away outfit in the second 45 before being taken off.
Boulaye Dia (6) – Scored the opening goal of the night but his impact was minimal after that.
Gerrard Moreno (5.5) – Good header that could have led to a second Villarreal goal if not for a block. Taken off after 70 minutes.
Samuel Chukwueze (3) – Struggled to test Liverpool when he came on.
Alfonso Pedraza (3) – Had little impact on the game.
Paco Alcacer (3) – Brought on to test Alisson, which he did not.
Serge Aurier (N/A)
Manu Trigueros (N/A)
Liverpool player ratings
Alisson (5) – Lucky not to give away a penalty late in the first 45. Did little else wrong on the night despite conceding two.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (5.5) – Awful marking of Coquelin for his goal. Good ball to Diaz for his goal. A mixed night for the full-back.
Virgil van Dijk (5) – Not the best tracking of Dia when he scored. Lost possession a staggering nine times in the first half. Improved as the game went on.
Ibrahima Konate (5) – Like Van Dijk Konate lost the ball far too much in the first half but was better in the second half.
Andy Robertson (5) – Poor marking of Capoue for the first goal. Better second half but not his finest display.
Fabinho (6) – A lacklustre first half but would then score Liverpool’s first goal of the game thanks to some poor keeping.
Thiago (5) – Really struggled to have much of a positive impact on the game in the first half, uncharacteristically misplacing several passes.
Naby Keita (6.5) – Was not as careless in possession as Thiago but Keita also struggled to create much until the second half, when he assisted Mane.
Mohamed Salah (5.5) – Quiet first half but set up Fabinho for his goal.
Sadio Mane (6.5) – Was more effective when moved through the middle. Scored Liverpool’s third of the night.
Diogo Jota (3) – Hardly touched the ball in the first half. Taken off at the break.
Luis Diaz (7) – Brought on to add some much-needed life to Liverpool’s attack and he certainly did that from the off, causing Villarreal all sorts of issues with his pace before scoring Liverpool's second of the night 67 minutes in.
Jordan Henderson (5) – Helped Liverpool see out the game.
Kostas Tsimikas (N/A)
Curtis Jones (N/A)
James Milner (N/A)
What the experts said
What the fans said
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