The biggest match of the season awaits as a coveted place in the Champions League awaits for the winners of the Europa League. The reds are just two matches away from playing the final in Basle, but in their way stand the much improved Villarreal side who currently sits fourth in the La Liga table and are guaranteed to play the Champions League next campaign.
Mamadou Sakho’s suspension over a failed drug test has come as a blow for the reds and with the number of first team players injured, it will be a tough task against Villarreal.
Jurgen Klopp talked about a number of issues in his press conference and the good news is that Christian Benteke has recovered well and has travelled with the squad. The Belgian has one month to prove that he belongs on the big stage and with Origi injured, he will get a lot of minutes. Villarreal are a tough side to beat and they have taken points at home against the likes Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. Marcelino Toral has marshalled and drilled his team well this season and unlike one superstar in a team, his team strives on teamwork and has done wonders with the team. Let’s take a look at the three players who pose the most danger for the reds in this semifinal Clash :
1. Cedric Bakambu:
The Congolese international has been in scintillating form this season and has scored 23 goals for the side which is also known as the yellow submarines. He has scored 9 goals in the Europa League and is the second highest scorer behind Sevilla’s Aduriz.
His partnership with Roberto Soldado has been a sight to watch and the former Spurs man has played unselfishly to support his teammate. With Sakho out, he can inflict much damage to the defense and no space can be afforded to be given to the man in form, Bakambu.
2. Denis Suarez:
The Barcelona target had been in fine form this season with 5 goals and 10 assists. The 22 year old has a tremendous work rate and contributes a lot defensively too which can be seen by his stats of 1.7 tackles per game and 1 interception per game.
It will be interesting to see who will win the midfield battle, with Lucas and Allen having their work cut out against Suarez.
3. Bruno Soriano:
The local lad turned captain has spent his entire career at Villarreal and has been a real rock for the yellows. This season has been one of the best for him and with a staggering passing percentage of 86.6 he can dictate the tempo of the game and can take the game out of Liverpool’s hands.
He is a tough nut to crack and how the red’s attackers handle the pressure will decide the outcome of the first leg.