Liverpool were dealt a blow to their Europa League credentials after a 1-0 defeat to Villarreal at the El Madrigal in the first leg of their semi-final last night.
A stoppage time Adrian Lopez strike was a cruel ending for Jurgen Klopp and his men who until the 91st minute appeared to be taking a goalless draw back to Anfield.
In a game of few chances, Cedric Bakambu hit the woodwork early in the second half, before Roberto Firmino saw his effort tipped onto the post by Villarreal goalkeeper, Sergio Asenjo.
Late on, both teams tried to gain an advantage for the second leg next week. Alberto Moreno’s late burst saw his effort drilled high and wide, with Simon Mignolet pulling off a fine save at the other end to deny Bakambu.
However, Liverpool got caught on the counter attack with virtually the last kick of the game. Substitute Adrian Lopez had the final say as Villarreal beat the offside trap as the Spaniard rolled the ball into an empty net.
Liverpool have a mountain to climb if they are to reach their first European final since 2007. It looks like it may have to be another one of those special Anfield nights if Liverpool are to progress.
Meanwhile, in the other Europa League semi final, Shakhtar Donetsk and Sevilla played out a 2-2 draw in Kiev.
Holders Sevilla had to come from behind twice as a late Kevin Gameiro penalty earned the Andalusians a draw.
The 2014 and 2015 Europa League champions are now firmly in the driving seat for the return leg as they look on course to defend the tournament for the third year in a row.
An early Vitolo goal put Sevilla ahead, but his goal was cancelled out by Marlos and Taras Stepanenko to give the hosts the lead at the break.
The visitors then scored a vital second away goal to take back to the Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium next week after Gameiro converted his late penalty to give the visitors the upper hand in the tie.
However, Shakhtar will fancy their chances knowing that a win in Seville will see them reach the final in Basel.
At the midway point both Europa League ties are evenly poised as the four remaining teams battle it out for a place in next month’s final.
Europa League tickets are available to purchase from Football Ticket Pad - The UK’s leading online ticketing website. Both Liverpool vs Villarreal tickets and Sevilla vs Shakhtar Donetsk tickets are available online today with tickets for the Europa League Final in Basel also online at Football Ticket Pad.