Villarreal – Liverpool: Reds Recover After Emery Relents (2-3)
Villarreal started off in excellent fashion, thanks to their aggressive and compact approach. They were able to bring the tie level thanks to this, but became a bit more passive in the second half, which was enough to let Liverpool back into the game and for Jürgen Klopp’s side to secure their place in the final.
Tactical analysis and match report by Josh Manley.
Villarreal had a mountain to climb after the first leg, and a different approach from Unai Emery was needed in order to give his team a chance in this match. Villarreal lined up again in a 4-4-2 shape, with a back four of Juan Foyth, Raúl Albiol, Pau Torres and Pervis Estupiñán. In midfield, there was the quartet of Giovani Lo Celso, Étienne Capoue, Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin, while talisman Gerard Moreno returned from injury to partner Boulaye Dia upfront.
Liverpool meanwhile arrived in their usual 4-3-3 system with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ibrahima Konaté, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson making up the back four. Fabinho was deepest in midfield with Naby Keïta and Thiago Alcântara ahead of him, while Jürgen Klopp selected Diogo Jota to play alongside Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané in the frontline.
Proactive Villarreal stun Liverpool
The first half saw a fantastic display from Villarreal, who started on the front foot with an aggressive strategic approach that unsettled Liverpool in all aspects. Emery’s side got off to a perfect start with a goal within the first few minutes of the game as Dia fired home from close range after good work from Estupiñán and Capoue.
Some of the tactical . . .