Villareal vs Liverpool
| Tuesday, May 3rd |
Champions League | Estadio de la Cerámica
8PM BST / 3PM EST
If Liverpool manage to not lose by two or more goals tomorrow night — they have three losses in all competitions this seasons, all by a single goal — they will make their third Champions League final in five years. These are the days, and we hope you’re enjoying every single one of them.
The Reds put themselves in a terrific position with last week’s dominant 2-0 win, but as Jürgen Klopp says, it’s only half-time, and there is plenty of work left to be done, particularly as Villareal will be fighting for their first ever CL final, in front of a stadium that holds literally half the city from which they hail.
El Submarino Amarillo did not have the best dress rehearsal for their big night, stumbling to a 2-1 defeat against relegation battlers Alavés on Saturday, and going within a point of dropping out from the European spots altoghether.
Unai Emery looks set to have a number of game-day decisions to make with regards to personnel, as Raúl Albiol, Gerard Moreno and Francis Coquelin are all recovering from knocks, while Arnaut Danjuma missed training yesterday and could miss out entirely.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Thiago, Henderson; Díaz, Mané, Salah
For the healthy Reds, expect a side just about identical to the one that produced the advantage at Anfield last week, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ibrahima Konaté reinstated alongside Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson in the back line.
In midfield, the Fabinho and Thiago double pivot was rested at the weekend, while Jordan Henderson was taken off around the hour mark, so all three should be expected to start, with Naby Keïta unlikely to go 90 minutes twice in a week.
Up top, Mohamed Salah is sure to come back in the XI after starting on the bench against Newcastle, while Sadio Mané and Luis Díaz should be given more space in which to run at the backline of a team that will have to find some way of producing goal threat against their visitors without getting shredded on the counter. Bobby Firmino continues to miss out with a foot injury.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “You never know if we will ever have a chance to go to the semi-final again, so you’d better treat it carefully and be ready – and we will be. We really wanted to be here and we really want to reach the final, but if Villarreal beat us with a result that gets them to the final, then we will congratulate them.”
Unai Emery: “We are in good home form. Starting 2-0 behind is complicated. We will seek to create situations in the game to allow us to come close to equalising. The removal of the away goals rule benefits us. The home factor was key for Liverpool [in the first leg] but we managed to defend well and avoid giving them more of an advantage.“
The Officials (NED)
Referee: Danny Makkelie
Assistant referees: Hessel Steegstra, Jan de Vries
Fourth official: Serdar Gözübüyük
VAR: Pol van Boekel, Dennis Higler
Kickoff is set for 8PM GMT/3PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.