Liverpool make a trip to Estadio El Madrigal to face the Yellow Submarine in the first leg of their Europa league semi-final. The Reds travel for this game with a lot of limitations when it comes to side selection and Jurgen Klopp will surely have a tough time in picking his starting XI. The Reds have never previously played against the Spanish side and this will be a one of its kind encounter. This will be Villareal’s fourth attempt to play in a final in the European front.
For Villareal, their striker Leo Baptistao is left out of this clash and the left-back Jaume Costa is still doubtful to start. Liverpool have a whole list of players who are not available for this fixture. Origi, Henderson and Can are out due to injuries and the Reds have decided not to pick Sakho due to the drug test failure linked to him. Christian Benteke is there in the squad, but is still doubtful due to the knee injury.
Both these sides have never met in this competition and it will be a challenging contest for them. Liverpool enters this match by knocking out the strongest side of the competition and this will give a lot of impetus to Klopp’s men. The Reds were also in a great run of form in the league before they gave away two points against Newcastle. Villareal have not had a brilliant run lately and have managed just one point from their last three games which is a thing to worry for the manager. However, they do have Cedric Bakambu in their side who has scored nine goals in this competition so far.
Liverpool are short of options and certainly do not have their best men on the field. But Jurgen Klopp’s side will definitely play attacking football and try and get that crucial away goal. Villareal are known to play the patient possession game and they will try to frustrate the Liverpool defence and capitalize on the chances. Both sides will try and surprise the oppositions on the counter attacks as both of them have players with quick feet.
Jurgen Klopp did not seem too worried in his press conference and he made a confident statement about his team’s preparedness for the game. This is what he had to say. “The whole season has been very intensive, but the players are not injured because they are tired. Momentum is not about having the best squad ready to play. Momentum is to be ready to fight. We need to be prepared. It isn’t about always having the best players but being perfectly prepared for our next game. Then we can go on”
Villareal boss Marcelino insisted on his side’s ability to match Liverpool head to head and also said that they will give a tough time to the Reds.