Jurgen Klopp remains on course for silverware in his first season in charge after Liverpool beat Villarreal in the semi-final by 3-1 to reach the Europa League final. Trailing 1-0 from the first leg in Spain, the Reds scored three goals in the second leg at Anfield. The hosts levelled the tie on aggregate after Bruno Soriano’s early own goal. Daniel Sturridge, left out of the team in Spain, then put the hosts in command with a low finish after good work from the excellent Roberto Firmino. After Villarreal’s Victor Ruiz was sent off, Adam Lallana made the win safe.
Ruiz received a second booking after stepping on Lallana’s foot in a game where Liverpool’s energetic pressing ruffled their opponents. Klopp, who took over from Brendan Rodgers in October and celebrated wildly with supporters after the final whistle, has now taken the Reds to a second final of the season, following defeat by Manchester City in the Capital One Cup final. Liverpool will face Europa League holders Sevilla in the final in Basel on 18 May. Sevilla beat Shakhtar Donetsk by 5-3 on aggregate in the other semi-final.
Despite sitting nine points and 19 goals behind fourth-placed Manchester City in the Premier League, Jurgen Klopp’s side would qualify for next season’s Champions League should they win in Switzerland, representing a fine return for Klopp in such a short spell in charge. On another memorable night at Anfield, Liverpool reached their first European final since losing the 2007 Champions League final to AC Milan.
While it was less dramatic than the quarter-final win over Klopp’s former team Borussia Dortmund, the players seemed galvanised by an electric rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone before kick-off as home fans paid tribute to those who died in the Hillsborough disaster, following last week’s inquest verdict where 96 fans were found to be unlawfully killed at a FA Cup semi-final in 1989. Liverpool fans formed a message which read ‘The Greatest Football Family’ around Anfield after the Hillsborough inquest.
Curated from Liverpool 3-0 Villarreal (agg 3-1) – BBC Sport