CHRIS SUTTON: Three reasons why Liverpool’s Champions League clash with Villarreal is NOT over despite the Reds’ two-goal lead in their semi-final… Unai Emery’s side have nothing to lose
- Sportsmail columnist Chris Sutton will commentate on Villarreal vs Liverpool
- The Reds travel to Spain for their Champions League semi-final second-leg tie
- Despite holding a two-goal aggregate lead, the last-four clash is far from over
I landed in Villarreal on Monday to a request – think of three reasons why Liverpool shouldn’t think Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg is a foregone conclusion.
I’ll be commentating on Tuesday night’s game from the Estadio de la Ceramica and won’t be turning up thinking this is done, dusted, over, kaput, goodnight Villarreal.
This is football – nothing is certain – so here are my three danger signs for Liverpool ahead of a very big night in Europe.
Liverpool hold a two-goal lead ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League tie against Villarreal
Sportsmail’s Chris Sutton gives three reasons why Unai Emery (pictured) and his side could cause the Reds problems in their European semi-final second leg at the Estadio de la Ceramica
Emery’s men have shown they’re the Villarreal deal
Firstly, Villarreal just KO’d Juventus and Bayern Munich over two legs. You don’t do that unless you’ve got something special about you. Not to mention they played the second legs of those ties away from home. How’s that for cojones?
They went to Turin and won 3-0, making it to the Champions League quarter-finals. They went to Munich and drew 1-1, making it to the semi-finals.
On Tuesday night they have the bonus of being at home to try to overturn that first-leg defeat at Anfield and make it to the final.
The Spaniards have not lost at home in more than five months – since losing to Barcelona in LaLiga in November 2021. That’s the challenge facing Liverpool.
The LaLiga side knocked out European giants Juventus and Bayern Munich in previous rounds
Reds can’t rest on their laurels
Secondly, Liverpool’s players cannot get complacent. They cannot rock up with a smug sense of superiority, thinking this will be easy because of how the first leg went at Anfield. Villarreal were powderpuff last week.
But one goal and it’s very much game on. Jurgen Klopp will be demanding nothing less than their best. He’ll have been trying to keep his players on their toes.
Villarreal didn’t manage a single shot on target last week. That will change on Tuesday night.
Arnaut Danjuma, Samuel Chukwueze, whoever is in attack, will be trying to beat Liverpool’s offside trap by bursting behind their back line.
Attackers Arnaut Danjuma (left) and Samuel Chukwueze (right) are fast, skilful and dangerous
Liverpool have EVERYTHING to lose
Thirdly, the psychology for Villarreal is that they have nothing to lose. That’s what Unai Emery will have been telling his players.
Most are expecting to see Liverpool in the final in Paris – I bet more than a few fans have already been booking their hotels, sorting their flights and practising how to say ‘pint of beer please’ in French (it’s ‘pinte de biere s’il vous plait’, by the way).
This would be one of the greatest shocks in Champions League history if little Villarreal could defeat the mighty Liverpool and they’ll give it a go.
Like I said, they’ve got nothing to lose, whereas Klopp’s players have everything to lose and they must handle that pressure.