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Villarreal (A) - UCL Semi Final 2nd leg, Tue 3rd May 2022 (8:00pm)

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And so to the second leg, which we go into holding the scoreline that this season has often left us confused as to whether we should stick or twist. Villarreal have been a tough nut to crack in Europe this year (and last), getting great results against Juventus and Bayern along the way, but then they’ve never been dominated the way they were in the first leg at Anfield. We squeezed them so thoroughly they just never had an out ball, and with better finishing we would have been out of sight and probably able to rest a few more for the second leg. That’s not to say the attitude would have been one of “job done” by our players or staff, but there would certainly have been an approach of merely getting through the tie unscathed and prepare for bigger battles to come. Avoidance of both complacency and flawed decision making are the key for this game.

 

Class. Organisation. Luck. Liveliness. Ingenuity. Nerve. Accuracy.

 

I don’t ask for much.

 

Our history with the Spanish side is very short, having previously only played them in the semi finals of the Europa League in Klopp’s first season. The first leg took place at the end of April 2016 at El Madrigal, the Spaniards’ compact stadium. It was a nervy affair for both sides, with few chances. Our best two were an early effort from Allen that found the keeper when it should have found the corner of the net, and a second half shot from Bobby that was palmed off the post by the Villarreal keeper. Very late on, Bert broke clear from halfway but sliced high and wide from just inside the area as he was closed down by the defender. Unfortunately, Villarreal broke down the other end, Bert was out of position and Kolo for some reason had dropped back much deeper than the rest of the defence. Denis Suarez was picked out in space on the right and he squared for Adrian Lopez in the centre to tap into an empty net. Instead of coming away with a 0-0, we would have to stage a recovery at Anfield. Fortunately we had shown we were well capable of that under the Anfield lights, and a week later we won 3-0 to earn a place in the final in Basel.

 

 

The box office in April 2016 was topped by Jon Favreau’s photo-real animation take on the 1967 Disney classic The Jungle Book, itself based on the short story by Rudyard Kipling. Much like with the photo-real animation (and this time almost shot-for-shot) remake of 1994 classic The Lion King 3 years later, I find myself judging it against the original, perhaps unfairly. The original two are my favourite of the Disney animated films, and The Jungle Book holds special nostalgia value for me as it’s the first time I can remember seeing a film at the cinema. It was the early 80s and the local Odeon were showing it, so my mum decided to take me, our neighbour’s son and my cousins to see it. We were treated to the works - giant boxes heaped with popcorn, Ribena (or maybe Um Bongo or similar) juice cartons, pick ‘n’ mix, ice cream, you name it. And yet the film was utterly captivating and so much fun! Make no mistake, the latest adaptations are both brilliant in their own right, and not just visually, but they lack the aura of the originals. The voice cast in this one is uniformly excellent, though I still think George Sanders’ voice is better than Idris Elba’s for showcasing the quiet menace of Shere Khan, the story’s Big Bad. The 2016 film has both Bill Murray and Christopher Walken having a whale of a time as Baloo and King Louise respectively, so what’s not to like?

 

 

Will Villarreal be as smothered as they were at Anfield? Will they come out and give it a good go? Will the ref be a slapdick or be fully aware of Villarreal’s attempts to make the most of every challenge? We need to make sure that we don’t do anything silly, never mind relinquish the advantage we built in the first leg. Motivation, attitude and application are the watchwords to avoid the complacency I mentioned before, and fortunately Klopp, the staff and the players are not prone to reading too much into any event, whichever way it goes. It’s all about relentless focus and if we can build on our advantage and kill the tie off early, perhaps the “bare necessities” will suffice for the rest of the game. We’ve even got our own King Luis! Ahem...anyway, let’s just get the job done. It’s served us well thus far.

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They may be carrying a few more fitness issues into this game. I saw Albiol and conquelin miss todays defeat through injury. Gerard Moreno still out as was Yeremy Pino. 
Shouldn’t concern us though what they do, we should do a job on these just like in Lisbon. 

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It's relentless the way these massive games are coming thick and fast. I wouldn't have it any other way. The atmosphere will be incredible, but (as Souness, I think, said) our squad are all men; they can handle it.

 

Same focus and energy as usual and we'll be singing about Paris in the Springtime.

 

Just get these beat, Reds.

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Just get this tie won.

 

I want the leaghe title badly - this team, the manager and staff deserve to lift and celebrate and parade in front of the fans, but it isn't in our hands and nobody is standing up to the cheats....so this, which is in our hands becomes even bigger than usual.

 

Number 7 would be absolutely fantastic and whilst this season if we missed out on the league title it would hurt and hurt a lot - especially to the cheating bastards, it would still be a fitting achievement for this incredible team we have and cement their place as legends.

 

This is massive and we need to be professional and at it and book our place in the final.

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Offal

 

Roberto Firmino is among the travelling contingent to Spain for the second leg of the last-four clash but is not ready for match action as he continues to recover from the foot injury he sustained in mid-April.

 

"He was running today again, will travel with us but will not be involved in the squad yet. But we hope sooner rather than later," Jürgen Klopp said of the No.9 when he spoke to the media on Monday.

 

Divock Origi has returned to team training after missing last weekend's Premier League win over Newcastle United due to illness.


"We had the issues with a stomach bug – they are all back. I think that's it. No concerns," added the manager, whose side lead the tie 2-0 following the opening leg at Anfield.

 

On Naby Keita, the match-winner at St. James' Park on Saturday, Klopp said: "The player was never in doubt, not for a second, because he's outstanding. It's good he is now available.

 

"It's a good option, a very good option to have. Played at the weekend obviously a really good game, so we'll see how long we will use him tomorrow. A very good option."

 

Villarreal, meanwhile, hope to have forward Gerard Moreno available again after a hamstring issue sidelined him for the first leg. 

 

But the fitness of Arnaut Danjuma will be assessed in the run-up to kick-off, while Yeremy Pino has been ruled out. 

 

Unai Emery told reporters: "It is true that today Gerard has trained with the group and we will see tomorrow to what extent he feels good tomorrow. We do not take any risks with him.

 

"Danjuma has also had some discomfort. He has not trained today with the group, and tomorrow morning we will see if he is in a position to play as well. 

 

"Yeremy, it is true that he has an injury that will make him miss out."

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Less than 24 hours before a Champions League semi final second leg, and we're still on page 1 of the thread. 

Looks like we're getting quite comfortable being in these situations. Getting spoilt us lot. 

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Alisson; Trent, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago; Salah, Jota, Mane

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27 minutes ago, Aventus said:

Less than 24 hours before a Champions League semi final second leg, and we're still on page 1 of the thread. 

Looks like we're getting quite comfortable being in these situations. Getting spoilt us lot. 

The games are coming so thick and fast! I’m still looking at reaction from the Newcastle game.

 

As has been said often - we need to appreciate this team and what it’s doing.

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We've not got a good mindset to take into this because we were so sloppy in similar situations in previous rounds. It didn't matter, people said, but these things do tend to be hard to shake off when you need iron hard discipline. We need a ruthless first twenty minutes or so - fast, precise, controlled aggression. Or not. Whatever works. Just get it done. Jurgen seemed slightly tetchy in the presser, which was a good sign. 

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2 hours ago, aRdja said:

Alisson; Trent, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago; Salah, Jota, Mane

If Jurgen had followed your team selections, Robbo wouldn't have played a game this season.

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22 minutes ago, Evelyn Tentions said:

If Jurgen had followed your team selections, Robbo wouldn't have played a game this season.

Yeah fair call, I just reckon he needs a rest every now and again.

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58 minutes ago, rb14 said:

This is far from a done deal. 

They only need to score one and then anything can happen. And knowing that, they don't really need to chase the game and open up spaces for us either. It probably won't be about management, we'll need to outplay them again.

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13 minutes ago, 3 Stacks said:

They only need to score one and then anything can happen. And knowing that, they don't really need to chase the game and open up spaces for us either. It probably won't be about management, we'll need to outplay them again.

They'll have to do more than they did at Anfield, but yeah will still probably be pretty cagey in the first half.  If we can take our chances that should be enough.  

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9 hours ago, Aventus said:

Less than 24 hours before a Champions League semi final second leg, and we're still on page 1 of the thread. 

Looks like we're getting quite comfortable being in these situations. Getting spoilt us lot. 

I don’t think it’s that (well, in a cocky way) I just think it’s a game we would expect to win, and on top of it we have a 2-0 head start. If this was Bayern Munich, like we all thought it would be, the thread would be a lot more active.
 

We’re also deep in a title race which, for many, myself included, is bigger than the European Cup. 

 

I don’t think the players see this in anyway a done deal, but watch this thread get busy if we concede the 1st goal. 

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49 minutes ago, JohnnyH said:

I don’t think the players see this in anyway a done deal, but watch this thread get busy if we concede the 1st goal. 

Agreed, it would be best for the forum if we conceded early. Here's hoping.

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