Jurgen Klopp has led Liverpool to their first European final since 2007 after another memorable night at Anfield. Liverpool beat Villarreal 3-0 to book their place in the final against Sevilla in Basle after overturning their one goal deficit from the first leg in Spain.
Prior to the game, Liverpool were given a fitness boost with the return of Emre Can who controlled the game in the middle of midfield. Daniel Sturridge also returned to lead the line for the Reds, after being left out of the first leg in Spain.
The famous Anfield atmosphere did not disappoint and the scene was set following a resounding rendition of the Liverpool anthem; ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ prior to kick off. The tie marked the first game at Anfield since last week’s Hillsborough inquest verdict of unlawful killing on an emotional night in Liverpool.
The Reds were gifted an opening goal after seven minutes when Bruno Soriano put through his own net to wipe out Villarreal’s lead and swing the momentum into Liverpool favour.
Liverpool then took control of the game as the trickery of Roberto Firmino and tenacity of James Milner and Adam Lallana in midfield took effect and ruffled their opponents.
Daniel Sturridge then added a second goal shortly after the hour mark to put Liverpool ahead in the tie for the first time after neat play by Roberto Firmino released Sturridge in the penalty area.
Sturridge had a point to prove and he replayed his manager’s faith by scoring the crucial second goal after his effort creeped in off the post to send Anfield into rapture.
Villarreal were then dealt a further blow when Victor Ruiz was sent off for a second bookable offense to give the Spaniards a mountain to climb to get back into the tie.
Adam Lallana then put the game beyond doubt when he added a third goal with ten minutes to go to all but seal their place in the final in Switzerland on 18th May to take Klopp and his Liverpool side to their second final in his first season in charge.
Liverpool were relentless and did not give Villarreal any time or space on the ball as the 'Yellow Submarine' looked shell-shocked from the first whistle, with Jurgen Klopp’s high-pressing tactics in full effect.
Simon Mignolet was called into action early on when he got down well to safe smartly from Mario Gaspar’s deflected effort. After that early scare, Villarreal didn’t test Mignolet, who had a quiet night in goal.
Liverpool deservedly progressed to the final and now have the opportunity to book a place in next season’s UEFA Champions League group stage if they can win in Basle.
Liverpool’s opponents in Switzerland will be the Europa League reigning champions, Sevilla. The Spanish side beat Shakhtar Donetsk 3-1 to seal a 5-3 aggregate win as they look to clinch the title for a record third successive year.
A Kevin Gameiro brace all but secured Sevilla’s place in the final after he raced through early on to put the Andalusians ahead. Ex-Arsenal man, Eduardo then pulled a goal back to level the tie just before half-time.
Gameiro then scored his second goal of the game soon after the break, before Ferriera Filho then scored the goal of the night with his long range effort into the bottom corner to keep Sevilla on course to defend their Europa League crown.
Football Ticket Pad has a selection of <Europa League Final tickets for Liverpool v Sevilla in Basle, Switzerland on Wednesday 18th May 2016. Book your tickets today to see if Klopp can secure silverware in his first season in charge or if Sevilla can retain the trophy for a third year in a row.
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