Everything continues to smile on the Reds. Liverpool won against Villarreal (2-0) in the Champions League semi-final first leg at Anfield on Wednesday April 27. Jordan Henderson, on a center-shot deflected by Pervis Estupiñán (53rd), and Sadio Mané (55th) freed the Reds in less than three minutes, after wearing down the defense throughout the first period. Enough to consider the return match calmly before the trip to Spain next Tuesday.
Up the Reds ❤ pic.twitter.com/25wkVHXq9K
—Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 27, 2022
Everything changed almost involuntarily. After a first half spent stumbling on the Villarreal defence, Liverpool unlocked the game with a cross from Jordan Henderson, inadvertently diverted in its purpose by Pervis Estupiñán. Surprised by the change in trajectory, goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli tried to get it out of the frame, but saw the ball land in his goal just behind his post. It was adjusted two minutes later at close range, by Sadio Mané, allowing his team to break in stride.
Two minutes of unexpected joy, as the Reds broke their teeth during the first 45 minutes, framing only one of their 12 shots. If Thiago Alcantara had not sent a magnificent strike on the top of the post from Rulli (42nd), their domination would have been very sterile. Opposite, the Spaniards were able to resist and go and cause mistakes to break the rhythm. The tactic held until half-time, then Unai Emery’s players, too limited in their ambitions, were overwhelmed.
The addition could have been much more salty for the Spaniards, since the Reds shook the net four times in the second half, including twice offside. But Fabinho (50th) then Andrew Robertson (65th) were reported in an illicit position. Virgil van Dijk and Luis Diaz also came up against a feverish and overwhelmed Rulli, like his team.
As against Inter Milan and Benfica, in their two previous knockout encounters, Liverpool won the first leg and found themselves in an ideal situation before tackling the second leg. With a two-goal lead, Jürgen Klopp’s men are already not far from the tenth C1 final in club history.