Liverpool do what everyone expected – but in the most unexpected way.
The club achieved a 10th place Champions League Finale and a second in Paris after overcoming real turbulence. That’s maybe what you need for a quadruple. It is an achievement of such monumental proportions that there will always be riots and great challenges. This semi-final second leg against villa real had looked the greatest Liverpool faced. At half-time it wasn’t just the Champions League or the quadruple at stake, but perhaps the whole season given the potential fallout from being eliminated.
And what happened out of that fear and uncertainty?
Liverpool just raised and ended up winning 3-2 with ease.
Others point elsewhere. Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli was at fault for all three of Liverpool’s goals after his mistake in the first game.
It’s all the sadder because it will undermine some of Villarreal’s immense achievements.
They should all still be very proud of having come this far and pushing Liverpool forward so much. The final 5-2 aggregate score – not to mention the nature of the second half – will likely ensure it isn’t remembered as such when people look back at the records, but Unai Emery’s transformed side have Klopp’s big ones worried.
They were beaten by the inevitable superiority of a bigger club but also by their own efforts.
The truth was they looked exhausted in the second half. They had put so much into the first one.
For 45 minutes this was another Champions League classic before becoming another routine Liverpool win.
Belief in a comeback swept through a lively little stadium, the madrigal’s diminutive size only added to the atmosphere – and ignited what was happening on the pitch.
Villarreal started by doing to Liverpool exactly what they are doing to so many others. On a night of such setbacks, it was as if Klopp’s players just couldn’t handle the intensity of the home side. Villarreal just kept going and didn’t let up for the rest of the half. They were immediately swept up in the emotional surge of an early goal to go with the energy of their crowd.
It wasn’t all willpower, however. There was forensic planning as they – like many others – kept going into the area behind those full-backs.
Pervis Estupinan found so much space there in the third minute but still had to play the right pass. He did so brilliantly, with a deep cross that Etienne Capoue could have seen hit. Whether he tried is doubtful, but the former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder seemed to look up when he made contact and the ball was deflected back for the relentless Boulaye Dia to finish.
Liverpool, who so often bring chaos, have been swallowed up. So many players made fundamental mistakes. There was little pressure and almost no intensity. It was as if they had been caught completely off guard and moments later had been caught almost exactly the same way again. Another Estupinan cross behind Trent Alexander-Arnold saw the returning Gerard Moreno head in on goal. Andy Robertson didn’t seem to know much about it as his back blocked him and the way Naby Keita chopped the ball away spoke to the fear running through the team.
Keita himself provided more moments later, with a terrible back pass that put Moreno in play and forward Giovani Lo Celso in goal.
Alisson came in for it and got the ball but also the man. That was really open to interpretation. However, referee Danny Makkelie did not allow any, immediately and emphatically dismissing the claims.
However, Villarreal didn’t elaborate. They immediately went one better to make up for it. This time Capoue crossed from the right, and Franz Coquelin hovered over Alexander-Arnold to loot a brilliant header.
However, after equalizing so early, there was this sudden reality that hits teams like this. It even happened to Liverpool in Istanbul. You had something to lose now.
On the other hand, Klopp also went for a win. The disappointing Diogo Jota was brought in for Diaz.
His energy alone was almost enough. Diaz persistently reached out to Villarreal. Liverpool had returned to their usual level. The second half was all red and soon left no doubt.
Fabinho scored the goal that ultimately swept away any remaining fears. That too had an impressively cool bill. The Brazilian scooped the ball past Rulli’s goal following a pass from Mohamed Salah and delayed when everyone expected a cross before catching Rulli. Moments later, Diaz did the same, shooting a simple header through the keeper’s legs.
After barely showing any presence when he was actually in his goal, Rulli decided on the natural consequence of that by simply vacating it. It went sadio mane with the easiest goal of the evening and the last few minutes that were so different from the start.
Liverpool had survived heading for Paris and, well, everything else.
This is now the second season in their history that they have played in every possible game since 2000-01.
There will be other clues to the story. After all, they last played against Real Madrid in a Champions League final.
You can now watch the other semi-final with some consolation, but after a far more uncomfortable night than anyone expected.
However, that is what these types of activities require.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/villarreal-liverpool-result-champions-league-2022-b2070886.html Result Villarreal vs Liverpool: Champions League Score, Goals, Report