Liverpool survived an almighty scare from fairytale club Villarreal to storm into their third Champions League final in five years. This was after a chaotic 3-2 second-leg win in Villarreal which saw them progress 5-2 on aggregate.
Entering the second leg with what seemed a cushy 2-0 advantage, Liverpool were rocked by two first half goals in Spain to leave the semifinal on a knife’s edge at halftime by debut goals in the competition from Boulaye Dia and Francis Coquelin.
The first 45 minutes of this match could be considered one of the best halves of football this year as Villarreal’s inch-perfect display bewildered Jurgen Klopp’s men. But it was all change after half-time, with Diaz making an impact from the bench. Fabinho fired between goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli’s legs to put the Reds ahead once again, before Diaz scored a header from close range to restore Liverpool’s two-goal lead.
The visitors showed their ruthlessness late on, as Sadio Mane pounced on Geronimo Rulli’s error to slot home a third goal, before Etienne Capoue was dismissed for a second booking in the final minutes.
Villarreal might have fallen short of a miracle but what a run they had this season in the Champions League. Liverpool’s hectic schedule continues as they host Tottenham in the Premier League on Saturday knowing they cannot afford to slip up if they are to catch Manchester City.
The Champions League final will take place on May 28 in Paris.