Villarreal - Liverpool: Liverpool stunning comeback, score, goals, highlights, Champions League semifinal 2021-22
Villarreal 2-3 Liverpool: as it happened
Villarreal 2-3 Liverpool: summary
Liverpool are into the Champions League final after what can only be described, with an apology to the football cliché police, as a game of two halves. Few people gave Unai Emery's Villarreal much hope of pulling off a comeback from 2-0 down after the first leg but goals from Boulaye Dia and Francis Coquelin had the home fans in rapture as the sides went in at half time with the tie level and Liverpool looking far from a team currently eyeing up an unprecedented English quadruple.
After the break - and what a half time team talk Jürgen Klopp must have delivered - the introduction of Luis Díaz and the tenacity of Trent Alexander-Arnold on the othe flank helped turn the tide in the visitors' favour. Fabinho, Díaz and Sadio Mané all found the net to turn potential disaster into an eventually comfortable win as Liverpool again displayed an unerring ability to bounce back from adversity.
It is that abilty that has led Klopp and his side to the cusp of a quadruple and now the Liverpool boss will have half an eye on which of Real Madrid and Manchester City will be in the way when his side attempt to regain the European crown in Paris on 28 May.
Jürgen Klopp has worked his magic again and Liverpool are into the Champions League final for a third time under the German tactician.
And there's the whistle! Liverpool are through to the Champions League final after a 3-2 victory on the night and a 5-2 aggregate win over Villarreal. We will find out who Klopp's side will face tomorrow when Real Madrid take on Manchester City at the Bernabéu.
The home fans are up in unison, scarves aloft and cheering their team to the rafters as the clock ticks down. It wasn't to be in the end but Villarreal had Liverpool on the ropes there for a while.
Two minutes added in the Cerámica.
The wind has very much gone from Villarreal's sails and the home side really just want to hear the whistle now.
James Milner on for Fabinho as Klopp looks to save some tired legs.
And this time it is a red as Capoue goes into Jones and picks up a second caution! He doesn't even bother arguing the point, that was pure frustration and he walks off to an ovation after his two assists got Villarreal back into the tie.
Pau Torres into the book for an awful challenge on Mané and there were a few in the stadium who thought that was going to be a red.
Lo Celso goes into the book for a late and not very pretty challenge on Fabinho.
Rullí! The Villarreal keeper stops Liverpool from making it four with a fine save from substitute Curtis Jones.
Changes for Villarreal as Trigueros comes on for Estupiñan and Aurier takes Albiol's place.
A horrible mistake from Rullí as he comes out into the middle of his own half for a ball and the Senegal forward adds his name to the scoresheet by coolly picking it up and rolling it into the open net.
Emery rolls the dice and sends on Chukwueze for Gerard Moreno.
The Colombian has been electric since coming on for Jota and pops up in the middle completely unmarked to turn a header past Rullí, who slaps the turf in frustration. Liverpool back in the driving seat now and 4-2 up on aggregate!
Alexander-Arnold, who has been the driving force behind Liverpool getting a foothold in the second half, feeds Salah, who slips a ball into the Brazilian and he manages to hammer a shot through Rullí to put Liverpool ahead in the tie again!
Luis Díaz! Oh my.... good work from Mané gives the Colombian a chance and he has more time than he thinks but goes for the acrobatic option and slices it horribly off target.
Alexander-Arnold! Liverpool take a short free kick to tee up the England defender and his shot hits a defender on its way through and lands plum on the top of the bar!
Luis Díaz has been very active since he came on but Villarreal are doubling up on the dangerous winger when possible and he's finding very few spaces out on the left.
It's swung in by Alexander-Arnold and Fabinho goes for it, distracting Mané, who watches as the ball clips his heel and rolls out for a goal kick. It's just not happening for Liverpool at the moment.
A nice interchange from Liverpool is cut short by Coquelin's shoulder and the visitors have a free kick from a decent range.
And we're back underway!
Luis Díaz is on for Liverpool for the second half, Diogo Jota off.
Some half time stats. Liverpool's pass accuracy stands out... that has been mostly caused by Villarreal's relentless pressing. The Yellow Submarine have been first to everything.
And there's the whistle for the half! Villarreal go into the break level on aggregate and it's fair to say not many people will have predicted that. Still 45 to go of course but Emery will be the happier of the two managers at half time.
Liverpool just can't hang on to the ball this evening and Villarreal are literally all over them, snapping at every ball and climbing over every red shirt on the pitch.
Two minutes added. Klopp will be keen to get his misfiring side in for a bit of a halftime chinwag.
The Cerámica is in full throat now and Villarreal are halfway to one of the great Champions League comebacks!
Incredible scenes in the Cerámica as Villarreal level the tie! Étienne Capoue sends in a cross and Coquelin gets the better of Alexander-Arnold in the air to nod a looping header over Alisson! Liverpool look like a rabbit in the headlights all of a sudden and to think nobody gave the home side a hope!
Nope! The ref seems happy enough that Alisson got the ball and the eye in the sky remains closed. Big call from the whistle-wielder and Emery is understandably not amused.
Villarreal think they have a penalty as Lo Celso is floored by Alisson but the ref says no! The keeper and the midfielder went for a 50-50 and it was too close to call but it was certainly a spectacular collision. VAR to have a nose at this surely...
Klopp and his assistant are engaged in animated conversation on the bench: this is not going to whatever plan the German schemer hatched. There is also a bit of an issue for Emery as Gerard Moreno doesn't look at all comfortable. Chukwueze out to warm up.
That said, Villarreal have not been hammering Alisson's goal either, with just the one effort on target. That's the only one that counts at this stage though and is one more than Emery's side managed over 90 minutes at Anfield.
Liverpool have settled a little now and string together a period of possession despite the best efforts of Villarreal detroyer Coquelin, who is flying into challenges left right and centre. Liverpool waste a free kick though and the visitors have still yet to get an effort between the sticks after half an hour of play.
Plenty of commentators speculated Liverpool would take control of this game from minute one but it has been the home side bossing it so far, with more passses, greater accuracy and a general gung-ho approach with the yellow shirts first to every ball.
Salah! The Egyptian gets his first sniff as he nicks the ball off Rullí's glove and dances across the area before slotting a shot just wide.
And Gerard Moreno charges into exactly such a space, forcing Van Dijk to race across and cover the area Robertson left unguarded. The Dutchman makes his opinion perfectly clear as he chews out his teammates for almost letting the Submarine in.
It's a little early to talk about changes on either side but Samu Chukwueze must be loving the look of the open spaces that Liverpool are presenting on either side when they move forward.
Villarreal appeal for a free kick at one end before Liverpool break to the other, forcing Rullí to come charging out and hoof it clear. The home side are edging possession at the moment and have created more chances, which is precisely what Emery will have demanded. Whether they can keep Liverpool at bay and add another is of course a different matter.
Jota! The Portuguese hammers a shot over the bar from the edge of the area but the ref had already pulled Naby Keita up for a foul in the build-up. Liverpool are getting forward a bit more now, driven up the flanks by Alexander-Arnold and Robertson, but Rullí is yet to be tested.
Parejo! A snap shot from the veteran midfielder flashes past Alisson's near post and Villarreal are appealing for a penalty for a potential foul on Coquelin by Keita! The ref is having none of it though and points to the six-yard box for a goal kick.
Liverpool earn a breather after a foul on Robertson and the Scot slings it into the mixer himself, but Jota slices a volley wide and Rullí watches it screw past his post.
Liverpool are a little shaken after that and a stray pass out from the back from Alexander-Arnold hands possession straight back to the home side, who are buzzing about the Liverpool back four and looking to force errors.
Well, well, well.... that won't have been part of Klopp's plan but it's a dream start for the home side as they halve the deficit from the opening leg with thier first attack of the game.
It's been a scrappy start but Villarreal put together the first decent passage of passing in the game and Boulaye Dia pops up in the middle of the area to turn the ball past Alisson after Liverpool's defence switched off. Villarreal right back into the tie with just three minutes on the clock!
We're off! Can Villarreal pull off what would be one of the great Champions League comebacks?
Van Dijk and Albiol, the respective captains, exchange banners in the centre of the pitch and with the preliminaries out of the way the teams are ready to go.
The teams are in the tunnel now and we're about the get this party started. The Cerámica is rocking.
You can fit half of Villarreal's population of 50,000 into the Cerámica and it looks like that is what will happen tonight as the home fans flock to their seats.
The teams are out and warming up and we're just 20 minutes from kick-off now. A huge cheer for Villarreal keeper Geronimo Rullí from the home fans.
Villarreal unbeaten at home in Champions League knock-outs
Villarreal have played seven Champions League knock-out stage games at home in the club's history and have never been beaten. The Submarine only won two of those though.
In order to go through tonight, Villarreal will have to something only one other team has done in the Champions League ere by turning around a 2+-0 deficit in a semi-final second leg. The other side? Liverpool, in the 2018-19 semi-finals against Barcelona, when Klopp's side won the return leg 4-0 after losing by three at Camp Nou.
Real Madrid vs Manchester City: Champions League team news and predicted XIs
Incidentally, we took a look at the possible line-ups and a few other bits and bobs ahead of tomorrow night's game.
A miserly 15% for Real Madrid reaching the final as well. That seems a little short. We can only assume the Opta AI boffins are based in England. We'll hang on to this tweet anyway, just in case.
Opta AI analysis isn't giving Villarreal much chance of going through, but then again, aren't we all supposed to be governed by malignant machines at this stage anyway? And those hoverboards from Back to the Future II never materialised either. An early Villarreal goal will put the cat there among the pigeons.
The focus always tend to fall on Salah, but as the stats show, Mané often makes the difference for Liverpool in the latter stages of the Champions League. No doubt Emery will have been studying the Senegal forward meticulously this week.
Liverpool starting XI confirmed
Few surprises from Klopp, with Naby Keita retaining his place after his match-winning turn at Newcastle and Diogo Jota up front with Sadio Mané and Mo Salah.
Villarreal starting XI confirmed
Emery's team is in and unsurprisingly he throws Moreno, Coquelin and Albiol straight in, with Étienne Capoue tasked with keeping Thiago under wraps. The Submarine will lose a little pace in attack with Samu Chukwueze on the bench, but the Nigerian winger will be handy later on against tired Liverpool legs.
Villarreal vs Liverpool: Champions League team news and predicted XIs
Gerard Moreno is in with a shout of a start this evening, which is good news for Villarreal fans, while Raúl Albiol and Francis Coquelin also trained on Monday. Here's a run-down of both sides' injury worries and suspensions and a look at the possible starting XIs.
Liverpool, on the other hand, seem to prefer playing away from home in the knock-out stages this season. Having beaten both Inter Milan and Benfica away, they then lost to the Serie A champions at Anfield and shipped three against the Portuguese giants in a 3-3 draw in the quarters. Klopp's side also won all of their away games in the group stage.
Home comforts for Villarreal
Emery's side are a very different proposition at home though and are unbeaten in the their last 12 at the Cerámica. Villarreal have only lost twice at home in LaLiga and neither Juventus or Bayern Munich were able to do so in the two previous rounds.
Villarreal facing a mountain
However, a Pervis Estupiñán own goal and a Sadio Mané strike within two second half minutes at Anfield blew the Submarine's designs out of the water. Still, it could have been worse: Liverpool racked up 19 attempts at Anfield and hit the woodwork through Thiago.
Villarreal will certainly have to more adventurous than they were in the opening leg, when the Yellow Submarine mustered a single, off-target attempt in the entire 90 minutes. Unai Emery's plan was reasonable enough - keep it tight at Anfield and bring it back to Castellón coast, where hopefully Gerard Moreno would be available to get in among the Liverpool back four and cause some good old-fashioned number nine havoc.
Hello and welcome to AS USA's live coverage of the Champions League semi-final, second leg fixture from the Cerámica as Villarreal host Liverpool with the Reds holding a 2-0 advantage from the first leg.
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