Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Prediction: Liverpool vs Villarreal

Verdict: Villarreal to qualify

Best Odds: 5/8

Bookmaker: William Hill

Liverpool will be looking for another memorable European night when they host Villarreal in the second leg of the Europa League semi-final, with the Reds trailing 1-0 from the first match. The Yellow Submarine, on the other hand, hope the late goal scored by Adrian Lopez at El Madrigal will prove decisive in the final count.

Liverpool

Liverpool have shown a great deal of promise under Jurgen Klopp, but they will also want to win a major trophy and thus create an extra impetus for the new campaign. The Reds narrowly missed out on the Capital One Cup title, losing to Man City in the final on penalties, but they are still in the hunt for the Europa League trophy. The German manager was forced to contend with serious selection problems of late that clearly took the wind out of team’s sails, and he still has some important players unavailable for selection. With their top 4 bid in the Premiership ending a while back, Klopp had no choice but to focus on the Europa League campaign and attempt to take his team all the way and thus secure Champions League football for the Reds next season. Following the amazing comeback against his former club Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool fared pretty well in the first leg against Villarreal, but the late goal they conceded at El Madrigal puts them in a difficult position ahead of the return match. The Reds will probably have to win without conceding if they want to make it to the final, but that does not seem a realistic scenario at the moment.

Team News

Jurgen Klopp will recall a number of starters after they were rested at the weekend, but he is still without quite a few important players.

Mamadou Sakho is banned after failing a doping test, while Divock Origi, Emre Can, Jordan Henderson, Danny Ings and Joe Gomez are out injured.

Villarreal

This has been the most successful season for Villarreal ever since they narrowly missed out on the Champions League final back in 2006, with the only difference being that they have enjoyed success in both Spain and Europe this term. The Yellow Submarine secured a return to the Champions League as they cemented the fourth place in the La Liga standings with two games to spare, meaning they can now set their sights on winning their first ever major trophy in Europe. In an attempt to reach objectives in both La Liga and Europa League, coach Marcelino Garcia Toral has been deploying a rotation policy from the very start of the season, and he has proved to be a real master at this, with the entire squad, which is not that big, impressing in all the competitions entered. The Yellow Submarine have so far eliminated Bayer Leverkusen and Sparta Prague from Europa League, and they are unbeaten since the opening defeat to Rapid Wien, winning nine of last twelve European fixtures. Boasting a one-goal lead from the first leg and heading to Anfield at full strength, Villarreal look a good bet to secure their first ever final appearance.

Team News

Marcelino Garcia Toral had a close to fully fit squad at his disposal for the first leg, but he is now able to count on two more footballers.

Namely, the likes of Eric Bailly and Leo Baptistao have recovered from hamstring and muscle problems respectively and they are in the squad for the Liverpool game.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Villarreal are unbeaten in last 12 Europa League games (W9 D3)
  • Liverpool are missing a number of important players
  • The Reds conceded in four of six home matches in Europa League
  • Villarreal scored nine goals in last five away games
  • This will be their first meeting at Anfield

Conclusion

Liverpool are going through a rough patch at the moment and with so many important players missing, we cannot see them overturning a one-goal deficit from the first leg. Villarreal are unbeaten in last 12 Europa League fixtures and we fully expect the trend to continue at Anfield, with the Yellow Submarine in good spirits and at full strength at the moment.

Verdict: Villarreal to qualify

Best Odds: 5/8

Bookmaker: William Hill

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