Villarreal host Liverpool at El Madrigal on Thursday night in a vital first-leg tie of their Europa League semi-final.
Villarreal Betting News
Villarreal will look to go one step further in cementing their revival as a European force following their relegation to Spain’s second tier in 2012, by taking on the giants that are Liverpool this Thursday.
Villarreal have enjoyed a thoroughly impressive season under the management of Marcelino Garcia Toral, with the Spanish outfit sitting 4th in La Liga and on course for Champions League qualification for next season, regardless of the outcome of their Europa League efforts. Last time out in the Europa League quarter-finals Villarreal took on Sparta Prague, in which they won 6-3 on aggregate.
Villarreal’s record in 13 UEFA games against English sides is W3 D6 L4 (W2 D4 L1 at home – W1 D2 L3 in England). Villarreal manager Toral will have to sweat on the fitness of Mateo Musacchio and Jaume Costa.
Liverpool Betting News
Liverpool travel to Spain for Thursday’s match on the cusp of reaching their first European final since 2007, when they lost to AC Milan in the Champions League. The last time they won the Europa League (UEFA Cup) was in 2001, when they beat Alaves 5-4 in Dortmund. The Reds were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Newcastle last weekend at Anfield, though have been in generally good form lately.
Last time out in the Europa League the Reds of course miraculously beat Borussia Dortmund 5-4 on aggregate, courtesy of an injury time winner from their Croatian defender Dejan Lovren. Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will be without the whole spine of his team, with Mamadou Sakho unavailable for selection, along with the injured Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Divock Origi.
Villarreal vs Liverpool Match Prediction
Villarreal CF’s mighty home record in this season’s UEFA Europa League will be a major comfort as they come up against Liverpool FC in the semi-finals, with visiting coach Jürgen Klopp yet to win a UEFA game in Spain. However, Liverpool have been scoring freely recently, and should return to Merseyside with a score draw.