fbpx

Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

Voice of the Commonwealth - The Global Influencer

Liverpool survives scare at Villarreal to move into Champions League final

ENGLAND – Jurgen Klopp said reaching a third Champions League final in five years with Liverpool felt just as special as the first after his team saw off a spirited fightback from Villarreal on Tuesday to keep their quadruple hopes alive.

Trailing 2-0 from the first leg of their semi-final, Villarreal sparked hopes of a remarkable turnaround in the return at the Estadio de la Ceramica after Boulaye Dia finished in the third minute and Francis Coquelin headed in another to level the tie at 2-2.

But Klopp threw on Luis Diaz for Diogo Jota at the interval to shake Liverpool into life and it worked, the visitors scoring three times in 12 minutes through Fabinho, Diaz and Sadio Mane to secure a 3-2 win on the night and a 5-2 victory on aggregate.

“It feels like the first final because it’s always so special — it’s the best club competition in the world,” Klopp said. “Respect to Villarreal. Wonderful stadium and what they are doing here is incredible. It feels so special because it was so difficult for us. It was massive from the boys. Before the game I said I’d like to read the headlines that the mentality monsters were in town. I didn’t want us to defend the result but go for the win, and the second half was like this.”

Liverpool will await the winner of the second semi-final between Real Madrid and Manchester City, who meet at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday with City leading 4-3 from the opener last week.

“To be in a final is never easy and to make this a third in five years is incredible from this group of boys,” Liverpool’s Andy Robertson said. “As fans and players, we should never take days like this for granted.”

Either City or Madrid will offer a sterner test than Villarreal, but after a chastening experience at Anfield last week, Unai Emery’s side delivered a spirited performance that rattled Liverpool and showed why they knocked out both Juventus and Bayern Munich to reach the semi-finals.

“I have no regrets,” said Emery. “We have learned how to compete with the best teams. There were some answers we just couldn’t find.”

Liverpool was careless, perhaps complacent even, in the first half but sensational in the second. Diaz, who started on the bench, was integral to the fightback, and may soon have to be an automatic starter for Klopp.

“He’s been special,” said Robertson. “The talent he has, the will he has to win. He fits us perfectly. He made a big difference.”

A banner draped behind the Villarreal goal at one end read “90 minutes from our dream” while before kick-off the stadium announcer shouted “it’s possible, the comeback is possible!”

And if anyone inside the ground was still sceptical, they were given an early injection of belief as Pervis Estupinan swung in a cross from the left and Etienne Capoue’s skewed finish was turned in by Dia.

Liverpool lacked their usual control and precision, with Villarreal’s second goal coming four minutes before half-time as Pau Torres launched a long ball from deep for Capoue to run onto.

Capoue’s first touch cannoned away from him but he recovered, controlling and twisting away from Robertson before hanging up a superb cross with his left foot for Coquelin to head in.

The half-time whistle prompted huge cheers from the home fans, whose team were level in the tie, and a change from Klopp, as Diaz replaced Jota.

Liverpool looked like a team smarting after the break. They were rushing now to take throw-ins, eager to find the intensity they had previously lacked.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s deflected shot from distance looped onto the crossbar. Diaz volleyed over at the back post. And then Fabinho fired in, latching onto a Mohamed Salah pass and shooting early through the legs of Geronimo Rulli.

This was a more familiar Liverpool, hitting a level Villarreal could not match, and five minutes later they scored a second, restoring their two-goal advantage on aggregate.

Alexander-Arnold was given too much space on the right and floated a cross into the area where Diaz aimed an excellent header down and in.

Seven minutes later, Liverpool delivered the final blow, as Rulli rushed out to close down a launched ball forward but failed to get there first.

Mane sprinted clear and rolled into an open net before Capoue was sent off, earning a second yellow card for a frustrated challenge with six minutes left.

Latest news

Singapore makes donation to Afghan earthquake relief

Singapore (CU)_ In response to the devastation caused by the fatal earthquake in Afghanistan, the Singapore government will donate US$50,000 to the Singapore Red...

Related news

Jason Holder not in the West Indies team for Bangladesh Test series

WEST INDIES - All-rounder Jason Holder won’t be a part of West Indies’ upcoming two-match Test series against Bangladesh after he requested for a...

Five Haiti soccer players and their coach vanish from Special Olympics in Florida

HAITI - They turned in their room keys and left behind their suitcases and other personal belongings. Why five Haitian soccer players and their...

Devon Thomas among 3 uncapped players in West Indies test squad

WEST INDIES - Uncapped Devon Thomas, Gudakesh Motie and Anderson Phillip have been included in a 12-player West Indies squad for the first cricket...

EDGAR BERLANGA AIMING FOR ‘A TITLE ON THE LINE’ AFTER ALEXIS ANGULO CLASH

CANADA - Edgar Berlanga is aiming to beat Alexis Angulo before moving onto a title shot. The Puerto Rican super middleweight is preparing for a fight...

John Hunter, the Putting Poet of Congleton, pens new verse for Astbury Golf Club’s centenary

ENGLAD - From the Lake District of William Wordsworth to Thomas Hardy's Wessex Heights, some of our greatest poems have been inspired by the...

‘CEO involved in team selection’: KKR captain Shreyas’ remark raises questions

INDIA - Was it a Freudian slip? Kolkata Knight Riders captain Shreyas Iyer’s comment at the post-match presentation, after his team beat Mumbai Indians, was...

Thailand crush Singapore 5-0 for first SEA Games football win

SINGAPORE - Thailand scored their opening goal just before the break, when Phuket-born Ben Davis slotted home a penalty. Ironically, Davis played for Singapore...

Sevens star Ruby Tui named in Black Ferns squad.

NEW ZEALAND - Black Ferns Sevens star Ruby Tui is in line for a test debut after being named in the first Black Ferns...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest News

Singapore makes donation to Afghan earthquake relief

Singapore (CU)_ In response to the devastation caused by the fatal earthquake in Afghanistan, the Singapore government will donate US$50,000 to the Singapore Red...

Whither Sri Lanka…what ailst thou?

By: Niranjan de Silva Deva Aditya Malignant self destructive mistrust of SriLanka by SriLankans can only be mitigated by the creation of a UN Special...

900,000 Malaysians have relocated to Singapore!

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (CU)_ Several economic sectors of the country have improved after the Covid-19 pandemic, but the labor crisis in Malaysia remains unaddressed...

Mauritius emphasizes strategic significance of GCC nations

Port Louis, Mauritius (CU)_ The Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) has announced its long-term goals and commitment to establish deeper economic relationships with GCC...

Intra-Commonwealth trade to reach $20 trillion over the next five years!

London, United Kingdom (CU)_ British prime minister Boris Johnson has praised the benefits of current relationships between Commonwealth nations and highlighted that intra-community trade...

How to handle your LGBTQ+ child when they come out!

Sydney, Australia (CU)_ Coming out may be an extremely emotional and personal process for many, including the kid and the parent. According to research,...

US honors Bangladesh’s resilience.

Dhaka, Bangladesh (CU)_ Peter Hass, ambassador of the United States to Bangladesh, stated that the United States honors a nation like Bangladesh that has...

Biotechnology can boost inclusive development in Nigeria, Agency head

Abuja, Nigeria (CU)_ According to Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, Director-General of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), biotechnology has the capacity to expedite inclusive national...

Try this magical Ayurvedic herb for overall well-being!

Kochi, India (CU)_ Giloy is a popular Ayurvedic plant well-known for its therapeutic properties. Giloy is native to India, although it is also cultivated...

New entrants to the Oscar Academy!

Mumbai, India (CU)_ The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has welcomed 397 new members this year, including actors Kajol and Suriya, filmmakers...

Government must prioritize children’s rights!

Male, Maldives (CU)_ First Lady Fazna Ahmed has asserted that the rights of children should be the utmost priority of government officials. She remarked...

India is the third most common birthplace of Australians!

Mumbai, India (CU)_ According to 2021 statistics, Hinduism in Australia has increased by 55.3% as India has surpassed China and New Zealand to become...