Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp guaranteed to go all out for triumph in the second leg of Europa League semi-final against Villarreal at Anfield on 5 May. Adrian Lopez’s goal in stoppage time provided the Spanish side a 1-0 home win on Thursday. After a first half of few chances, Cedric Bakambu’s shot clipped the Reds upright soon after the break. Liverpool were very close when Roberto Firmino’s low shot hit the post. The Reds were going for a noteworthy draw in Spain until they switched off to permit substitute Lopez to score on Denis Suarez’s low cross.
In spite of the sensational winner, the Europa League semi-final still remains delicately balanced before the second leg on Thursday. The winning team will meet Spanish holders Sevilla or Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk in the final in Swiss city Basel on 18 May. Sevilla came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw in Ukraine in the other semi-final first leg. Liverpool have not qualified for a European final since losing to AC Milan in the 2007 Champions League final, however a stoic display at Villarreal looked set to leave them a home win far from terminating that desolate run.
However, the English team lost their defensive control in the last few seconds – and it could demonstrate vital. Left-back Alberto Moreno wandered up field, leaving the space for ex-Manchester City adolescent Suarez to utilise before squaring to Lopez for the most simple of finishes. Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson said: “Where did the left-back vanish to? Stoppage time at 0-0 in a Europa League semi-final – and he is most likely 70 metres up the pitch.
“0-0 would have been a decent end result. All of a sudden because of one deviation you are under stress for the second leg,” Lawrenson added. Liverpool will need to score minimum two goals at Anfield in one and half hour to go into the final in Milan, however Villarreal know an away goal would mean the Reds then need at least three. The English side Liverpool were put as favourites to lift the trophy of Europe’s secondary club competition after their exciting quarter-final victory against Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund.