Do you want more questions, answers, and predictions that are almost certainly not going to come to fruition? You're in luck! Since the lads at VillarrealUSA were so nice last week, LTB and I thought we'd exchange a few more emails and talk about the epic semifinal show down at Anfield tonight.
TLO: Liverpool 1-0 in Europe followed up by a 2-0 away victory against hated rivals Vale—quite a week for you lads, eh?
VU: Yes, huge to clinch Champions League football (at least the playoff) next season. With only 1 starter from midweek (Soldado)! And it was a comfortable result, so Bakambu got his full rest.
Europa League Q&A: Villarreal Edition
Sitting down with Villarreal's SBNation site Villarreal USA to talk tactics, players, coaches, and gazpacho.
TLO: 1-0 at the Madrigal. Was that your best shot?
VU: Villarreal will come to Anfield to score a goal. This is the same scenario as in the round of 32 with another strong opponent (Napoli). After a tight 1-0 at El Madrigal, the Italians scored first at home, but Tomas Pina won it with a somewhat fluky mishit cross. Napoli never looked like scoring 3 -- that would be a challenge even at Anfield. Only Barca, Madrid, and Sevilla did so in the league.
TLO: Reports are that you guys are coming to town with a clean bill of health after Bailly going down in the first leg, and a couple players still recently coming back from injury. Same starting eleven?
VU: If Musacchio can go another 90' after the injury layoff, he will fill in for Bailly. Otherwise quite possibly yes.
TLO: Regrettably, Alby's kitchen filled up quicker than you can say "me cago en la ostia", and so we can't offer you guys his paella. We do; however, have available seating and extra controllers available at Jose Enrique's kitchen. Any takers? Follow up: will you please, for the love of Fowler, take him off our hands?
VU: Villarreal had a need but now the fullbacks are pretty well covered with Mario and Costa.
TLO: Liverpool need to score twice and return the favor of no away goals given in this game. The three teams to score at least two goals while keeping a clean sheet against you guys this season have been Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Getafe. What might Liverpool be able to replicate from that Getafe match, or would it be easier turn into an offensive juggernaut a la Madrid or Barca?
VU: The Getafe match was a dud -- perhaps the Yellow Submarine's worst performance of the season. Bruno and Bakambu didn't play, and Mario got injured. That match crowned a spell of 1 win in 7 in the league. I don't think many teams can replicate Barca or Madrid, so probably best not to try. High pressure can rattle Villarreal, and with Anfield in full voice, that's probably the best plan. If it doesn't mean conceding...
TLO: How frightening is the thought of Daniel Sturridge, angry and hungry after being left out in the last leg, to you guys right now?
VU: He's a load to handle. But he's not quite the MSN, the BBC, or Gonzalo Higuain (whom Villarreal kept off the board for 180 minutes). Musacchio and Ruiz have the ability to deal with him, but I'm sure Sturridge will get a chance or two.
TLO: Score prediction, obvi.
VU: I think Villarreal will get an away goal and go through. Hoping for 1-1, but it may be a 2-1 nailbiter like Atleti's (without the full frontal assault).
TLO: Best of luck, minus the luck bit, and thanks for the chat!