It was a dominant performance from the Jurgen Klopp's side as they registered 68% ball possession and recorded as many as 20 shots at Anfield.
Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara insists “he really enjoyed team performance” after the win against Villarreal on Tuesday. The Reds secured a 2-0 in the first leg of the champions League semi-final at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp’s side opened the scoring through Jordan Henderson’s deflected effort seven minutes into the second half before Sadio Mane doubled the lead from Mohamed Salah’s assist two minutes later. It was a dominant performance from the hosts as they registered 68% ball possession and created as many as 20 chances, and Alcantara was the fulcrum of their brilliant attacking play.
?️ MATCH REPORT: Liverpool 2-0 Villarreal: Reds’ second-half surge puts them in control of Champions League semi-final…
? How good is this @LFC side?#UCL
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Meanwhile Villarreal reached the final four of the competition for only the second time in their history by overcoming Juventus and Bayern Munich in the previous rounds. The Yellow Submarine defeated 2020 champions Bayern 2-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals. Unai Emery’s side displayed a defensive master-class to get the better of the German giants over the two legs. However, Liverpool simply had too much quality and creativity in their ranks to open up one of the best defences in the competition this season.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Thiago said: “We have to recognise that we are playing a semi-final of the Champions League against a tough team like Villarreal and have to have the space to be ourselves, that’s the key.I really enjoyed the team performance, that for me is the best thing, because we put our level as high as possible and we delivered today.”
Alcantara completed the match with a passing accuracy of 96%, misplacing just four of his 103 passes. He was simply superb with his short passing game and at the same time, was precise with the long balls. Liverpool completed a total of 645 passes, with Villarreal making just 182. The 30-year-old playmaker even got close to getting on the score-sheet, when his long-range shot rattled the crossbar. The second leg will take place at El Madrigal next week and the premier League outfit just needs to avoid a defeat by a margin of two goals or more to advance to the final of the competition.
Villarreal will certainly need to change their game plan to overturn a two goal deficit next week and it’s definitely going to be a tough task against the mighty Liverpool, who are aiming for a quadruple of titles this campaign. Klopp’s side is currently placed second in the League standings, just one point behind leaders Manchester City, will play Chelsea in the FA cup final next month and have already secured the EFL cup. On the second leg, he added: “It will be hard there, I know this stadium before because of my time at Barcelona but we don’t have time to think about the game there we have to think about our game at the weekend so that’s all for us.”