Villarreal vs. Liverpool FC 28.04 Preview, Tips and Prediction
The semi-finals of the Europa League will be played at Madrigal on Thursday night when Villarreal hosts Liverpool. It’s a game of the season for both teams, but the significance of this two-legged clash is bigger for the visitors. Unlike their opponents, the Reds haven’t secured the Champions League football next season, and they will appear in the European elite competition only if they win Europa League. Villarreal is four points clear of Celta Vigo in the 4th position in Primera, and with only three games left to be played, it is widely expected that the Yellow Submarine book their place in the UCL next term.
Villarreal isn’t in the best form at the moment; they won only a point out of possible nine in last three games in the league. However, the Yellow Submarine had a pretty much easier job than Liverpool in the quarter-finals of the UEL against Sparta Prague. They won 6-3 on aggregate, but the five-time European champion is a far better side than the Czechs. Villarreal scored only one goal in last three games, and that could be worrying fact for the home fans. The hosts are rock solid at home, though; they suffered just two defeats in last 20 games at Madrigal. They’ll be in pole position in case they manage to keep the clean sheet in the first leg, but it will be difficult for the in-form visitors.
Liverpool dropped points against Newcastle United last weekend after 2-0 lead at halftime. That wasn’t the first time this season for Liverpool to slip from winning positions, and it seems that they’re losing concentration from time to time. However, it was completely reversible in a game against Dortmund at Anfield when the Reds won 4-3 after losing 0-2 and 1-3. The Reds lost only one game in last ten meetings, and their form is clearly on the rise. An away goal could be crucial in this tie, and the Englishmen certainly have the quality to score at least one.
Marcelino doesn’t have numerous injury concerns like his counterpart from Liverpool. Centre-back Mateo Musacchio, left-back Jaume Costa, and forward Leo Baptistao are the only three missing players for the first leg, and in-form striker Cedric Bakambu (scored nine goals in the competition this year) will likely lead the line along Roberto Soldado.
Villarreal’s possible starting lineup: Asenjo; Mario, Bailly, Ruiz, Rukavina; Bruno, Castillejo, Trigueros, Suarez; Soldado, Bakambu
Liverpool will have more problems in fielding the strongest XI, and Jurgen Klopp cannot count on recently suspended Mamadou Sakho. The Frenchman is unavailable after pleaded guilty for using prohibited substances, and he’ll likely face a lengthy ban. Kolo Toure should partner Dejan Lovren in the heart of the defense with Martin Skrtel also in the mix. Jordan Henderson, Emre Can, Divock Origi, Joe Gomez, and Danny Ings are out for the season, but Christian Benteke will start off the bench after recovering from an injury.
Liverpool’s possible starting lineup: Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Toure, Moreno; Milner, Allen; Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino; Sturridge