A diversion Jordan Henderson Try and a Sadio Mane Liverpool beat Villarreal 2-0 in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final at Anfield on Wednesday.
The Spanish team was firm in the first half, but collapsed in the second half as Henderson’s deflected cross went over the goalkeeper. Geronimo Rully – then ruled a Pervis Estupinan Own goal – After a while Mane entered the house.
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Villarreal have enjoyed significant runs in the knockout stages of this year’s competition – having stunned legends Juventus and Bayern Munich in the previous two rounds – but were rarely troubled as Jurgen Klopp’s side took a big step towards Spain. Final.
Liverpool, who won the tournament in 2019, are aiming to reach their third Champions League final in five years.
“They are a very organized team and we know they will make it difficult. We hope it’s important to keep going and eventually break them down. We did it with two good goals,” Henderson later said.
“For most of the game, our counter-press was very good. It was tough for them. But the game is still alive, and in Villarreal it will be tough.”
Mane enjoyed the best chance in a random first half that played mostly in the Villarreal half. The 30-year-old forward entered the penalty area Mohammed Salah Mane provided a floating cross towards the six-yard box, but Mane could not find the right connection to direct the header towards the goal.
When Fabinho put the ball into the back of the net, Liverpool thought they had broken the deadlock in 50 minutes, but the defender Virgil von Dijk He was ruled offside when he headed to set up the midfielder.
Henderson made the breakthrough in 53 minutes as Klopp’s side was in control and dutifully rewarded. The midfielder attacked what appeared to be a cross from near the flag in the right corner, before it spun on the back of the net and saw a lucky diversion from Estupinan.
Two minutes later Salah rolled the ball in his path into the box, and Mane doubled the lead.
Villarreal struggled to make their mark as they could not even make a shot towards the goal.
“I have to admit, it would have been much worse,” Villarreal manager Unai Emery told Movistar Plus.
“We tried to attack, pass, build, but they did nothing for us. Our last attempt was to defend ourselves defensively to survive the second match.
“We’re not good enough to lament about anything. We have to be humble and try to turn the second leg into a completely different game. We have to play more seriously as we used to.”
The two teams will meet again on May 3 at the Estadio de la Ceramica.
Reuters information used this report.
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