The amazing victory over Borussia Dortmund may have seemed like something written in the stars but the remarkable game and result will mean nothing if Villarreal replicate their victory over Liverpool next Thursday.
A stoppage time winner by Adrian Lopez has Villarreal coming to Anfield with a one goal advantage which would leave the Dortmund result irrelevant and just a once off miracle by the Red men.
Solid displays by every Liverpool player in particular the back four was undone by naivety, something we are used to with Moreno, from the left back who left his position late on leaving Kolo Toure in trouble as El Madrigal exploded to the sight of a late goal for the home side.
The Yellow Submarine are certainly not looking like a sinking ship at the moment with Liverpool the outfit with it all to do in the second leg even if Villarreal failed to inspire in victory.
That 90th minute sweaty goal on Fifa came to life today. https://t.co/gapxFVvuUD
— charlie cox (@charlie_cox6) April 28, 2016
Joe Allen should have scored when the ball came to him somewhat fortunately just outside the box, Firmino hit the post and all in all Liverpool looked the more dangerous side. Coutinho’s withdrawal at the interval dampened the attacking threat in the second period.
Klopp’s men should’ve won, Villarreal had their own chances through Soldado and Bakambu but didn’t look all that threatening with the goal being down to inept defending more than anything.
It’s not often Klopp comes under much criticism, the media savvy manager usually gets things right but his refusal to take risks in Thursday night’s game.
The Spanish side were there for the taking yet Klopp opted to bring on a largely ineffective Ibe for Coutinho at half time when bringing Sturridge on and moving Firmino back looked the better option.
As the half wore on Liverpool longed for a focal point or anyone who could change the game, the introduction of Sturridge seemed to beckon yet Klopp refused to give the England international some game time.
Benteke was introduced with four minutes to go and having conceded in that time Klopp could use it as justification as to why a striker was not brought on earlier in the game.
Sturridge is bound to be unhappy about his exclusion from proceedings which may suggest a rift between the German manager and his best striker, who has scored in his last three games.
Klopp, generally, has a good relationship with his players but rifts are not completely out of ordinary for the chirpy German.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan earlier told of his feelings about playing under Klopp and his preferral of new man Thomas Tuchel over his former boss.
“Tuchel has changed our lives. Now we command the game and I have more freedom to attack. Thanks to him I now make myself more useful,” the attacking midfielder told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Sturridge is likely to feel he is being under utilised at the moment but will have no time to dwell as he is likely to have a chance to show why he should have started in El Madrigal next week at Anfield in the return leg.
Goals will be needed and Sturridge is the main man in delivering goals especially with Origi out. Coutinho returning will also be key as Anfield will need another famous night to advance to the Europa League final.
Villarreal are no great shakes, that showed that on Thursday. They are a dangerous team but are not world beaters unlike the Dortmund side Liverpool advanced past in the last round.
The aforementioned Dortmund result was a historic night at Anfield, it will fade into insignificance should next Thursday end in defeat and Villarreal are unlikely to care about the apparent “destiny” of Klopp’s side winning the tournament.