Liverpool v Villarreal

Liverpool must look to overturn a 1-0 deficit at Anfield when they face Villarreal in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday night.

Europa League
5 May 2016
Semi-final second leg
Kick-off: 20:05 GMT

Venue: Anfield

Referee: V. Kassai

Head-to-head summary:

Liverpool 1 0 0 1
Villarreal 1 1 0 0

Previous encounter:

Villarreal 1-0 Liverpool – 28/04/2015 (Europa League)

The Reds put in the hard yards ahead of Thursday night…

A photo posted by Liverpool Football Club (@liverpoolfc) on

Players to watch:

Villarreal will once again look to Adrian Lopez for inspiration following his late heroics in the first leg. He scored a stoppage-time winner at El Madrigal to hand the Spanish club the advantage.

Cedric Bakambu has been in hot form for the Yellow Submarine this season with nine goals in the Europa League. He is the second top-scorer in the competition with 10 goals.

Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho is one of the star players in Jurgen Klopp’s side this term with 12 goals.

The Reds will need a display similar display to their miraculous 4-3 second-leg comeback against Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-finals.

Team form and manager quotes:

Klopp admitted that Villarreal posed a challenging proposition with their strong tactical approach. The German said it was a big opportunity for silverware following a tough season. The Merseyside giants have two wins, one draw and two losses in their last five games in all competitions.

“Spanish football is really impressive. Combine really good players with good tactical advice from outside,” Klopp said in his pre-match press conference.

“We have 95 minutes between now and saying congratulations to whoever. This game is a big opportunity in a difficult season for LFC. In October LFC changed manager. Something went wrong before then.”

Villarreal coach Marcelino Garcia Toral was full of praise for his overachieving players after they guaranteed a top-four finish in La Liga and being one step away from the Europa League final. In their last five games the Yellow Submarine have managed two wins, two losses and a draw.

“It’s a real success. Budget-wise, we’re the seventh team in the league. This season is one to remember,” Toral said.

“This squad doesn’t have any amazing individuals, but we’re 90 minutes away from our first European final in history and we’ve qualified for the Champions League after finishing fourth. It’s an extraordinary achievement.”

Team news:

Liverpool midfielder Emre Can is expected to make his comeback after suffering an ankle ligament injury against Dortmund in the second leg.

The Germany international has missed the last five matches and was expected to be sidelined for at least six weeks. Captain Jordan Henderson remains on the sidelines with a knee ligament injury. Divock Origi is also out long term with an ankle ligament injury.

Midfielders Joe Allen and James Milner are set to make a return after being rested for the Premier League match against Swansea City at the weekend. Alberto Moreno, Kolo Toure, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana will also be back after getting a breather.

Villarreal have a healthy squad bar only Leo Baptistao and Eric Bailly, are the only doubtful players for the encounter with hamstring and thigh problems respectively.