The phrase “there are no easy games at this level” is an easy cliché to trot out when it comes to Europa League semi-finals but Liverpool really do have it all to do in Spain tonight against one of La Liga’s best sides in Villarreal.
The Yellow Submarine – fourth in the Primera Division – have a fearsome record at El Madrigal, particularly in European competition. They’ve been beaten there just three times in the last thirteen years – an incredible record.
Argentine centre back Matteo Mussachio is a doubt with a thigh injury with Brazilian forward Leo Baptistao definitely out but, apart from that, the squad is in rude health with Roberto Soldado and Cedric Bakambu likely to start up top.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side arrive in Spain off the back of their own superb form. The Reds have lost just once (in 90 minutes) in their last 15 games with four wins and a draw in their last five.
Something has clicked recently within the side – possibly Klopp’s famous methods finally seeping through – with some superb performances in the last few weeks.
The club has also been bolstered by the recent Hillsborough judgments and that might just provide the players with an extra sense of emotional firepower to see them through against this impressive Villarreal outfit.
They aren’t without their problems, though, with a number of injury and suspension concerns.
Mamadou Sakho has been left out of the squad over his recent failed drugs’ test which means one of Kolo Toure or Martin Skrtel stepping in. Jordan Henderson, Divock Origi and Emre Can are also out.
If Liverpool are to have a chance of progression they must keep it tight tonight against a formidable home side who will look to sneak a win to take to Anfield.
Based on Villarreal’s performances to date at El Madrigal you couldn’t look past a home win at 6/4Add to betslip.
With the Yellow Submarine’s defence tighter than a duck’s behind you’d imagine goals will be scarce but Klopp’s side are definitely capable of a goal on the counter so Both Teams To Score at Add to betslip5/6 looks fair.
That all leads to a feeling for a 2:1 Villarreal scoreline which presents itself at a juicy 8/1
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.