May 5, 2016 at 8.05pm UK at ​Anfield
Soriano (7' og.), Sturridge (63'), Lallana (81')
Clyne (35')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Ruiz (30'), Soldado (40'), Suarez (94')
Ruiz (71')

Live Commentary: Liverpool 3-0 Villarreal - as it happened

Nathaniel Clyne and Jaume Costa in action during the Europa League semi-final between Villarreal and Liverpool on April 28, 2016
Relive Sports Mole's live text coverage of Liverpool's 3-1 aggregate win over Villarreal, as the Reds booked their place in the Europa League final.

Liverpool will contest in their first European final for nine years after successfully overcoming Villarreal 3-1 on aggregate in their Europa League semi-final tie.

The Reds, trailing 1-0 from last week's opening 90 minutes, made light work of their Spanish opponents to pave the way for a meeting with Sevilla in Basel later this month.

Bruno Soriano's own goal opened the scoring for the Merseyside outfit seven minutes in, before Daniel Sturridge added a second and Adam Lallana capitalised on Victor Ruiz's red at Anfield.

Relive how the 90 minutes of action unfolded with Sports Mole's live text coverage below.

6.00pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the Europa League semi-final second-leg showdown between Liverpool and Villarreal at Anfield. The Reds head into this clash needing to overturn a one-goal deficit, having switched off late on in last week's opening 90-minute tussle to concede in the dying stages at El Madrigal. Adrian Lopez was the hero on that occasion, making the most of some slack defending from the Reds, but the tie is very much still alive at this midway point.

6.03pmJurgen Klopp's men are no strangers to pulling off comeback wins in this competition, of course, as they produced one of their all-time great results when somehow battling from a few goals down to beat competition favourites Borussia Dortmund at the quarter-final stage. More of that spirit will be required tonight if they are to get the better of a Villarreal side seeking their place in a first ever European final of any sort - a quirky stat for a team boasting the best win record ever in the Europa League.

6.06pmThat's right - Villarreal have won more games than any other side in Europe's secondary competition (27), while at the same time scoring more than any other with 83 goals in all since the revamped format was introduced seven years ago. The Yellow Submarine, riding the crest of a wave at the moment, did come close to reaching the Champions League final a decade ago only to slip-up in a tense match against Arsenal over two legs. A goalless draw this evening and they will have finally broke their duck.

6.09pmIn terms of their recent form heading to Merseyside, the Spanish opposition have won their last two in all competitions and are currently unbeaten in three overall. One of those wins came against the Reds seven days ago, of course, but it was the 2-0 victory over Valencia last weekend that really set them up for an exciting finale to the season. That triumph ensured that Marcelino's charges will compete in the Champions League once more next season, and now all focus can remain on the Europa League over the next fortnight - starting at Anfield tonight.

6.12pmIn terms of their European pedigree, the Yellow Submarine really have been quite a force this term. Their campaign kicked off with a defeat away at Rapid Vienna, but since then it has been 12 games without defeat - a record for this competition - including three wins on the bounce. It has not quite been a walk in the park, although you would probably just about put Villarreal as the favourites to progress from this tie even before securing a one-goal advantage in last week's opener.

6.15pmYou have to go back to April 2011 to find the last time Villarreal lost a Europa League game by a margin that will see them crash out this evening, which ironically enough came when they last featured at this final-four stage. We also still have the prospect of two all-Spanish finals in both European competitions, with Sevilla favourites to overcome Shakhtar Donetesk elsewhere this evening and Madrid sides Real and Atletico already through in the Champions League. If proof was needed just how strong La Liga is at this moment in time, let this be it!

6.18pmFollowing on from that previous point, it probably will not come as too much of a surprise when being told that not a single Spanish side has been knocked out of either European competition by a foreign opponent this term. Only the Spanish can beat the Spanish, it seems, which does not bode all that well for Liverpool over the next few hours. To keep the bad omens coming for the Reds; Villarreal have failed to score in just one of their last 32 Europa matches, while the Anfield club have scored in only one of their most recent five games against La Liga opposition.

6.21pmLiverpool have a tough task on their hands this evening as they aim to overturn a 1-0 first-leg defeat at the hands of Villarreal. The Yellow Submarine do not boast the greatest European pedigree in terms of their achievements across the two club competitions, but the stats show that they are the most successful side in terms of victories alone and they also know how to find the net on a regular basis - no matter who the opposition.

James Milner reacts to the hosts' goal during the Europa League semi-final between Villarreal and Liverpool on April 28, 2016© AFP

6.24pmLooking back at the La Liga outfit's campaign to date in the Europa League, it was not all plain sailing in Group E as they actually finished behind Rapid Vienna. That opening-game defeat proved costly in the end, but Marcelino's charges recovered sufficiently enough, it is fair to say, by stringing together a 12-game unbeaten run that has taken them past the likes of Napoli, Bayer Leverkusen and Sparta Prague up to this final-four stage. A mixed bag of opponents, then, but you can only beat the side in front of you.

6.27pmIt is worth mentioning the work of manager Marcelino at this stage, a coach who has perhaps not deserved the recognition he quite deserves outside of his Spanish homeland. Marcelino Garcia Toral, to give him his full name, took over the club while in the second tier and ensured that promotion to La Liga after a short absence was sealed in his first campaign. A top-six finish followed last time out and, despite many questioning whether that success could be repeated on a small budget, the 50-year-old has gone one better this time around by securing a place in the top four.

6.30pmVillarreal find themselves six points above Athletic Bilbao with two games to go, with their superior head-to-head record over their rivals enough to ensure a place in the Champions League regardless of their results over the remaining week-and-a-half of the domestic season. Sixty-four points from 36 games is an extremely good total for the Yellow Submarine, very much making them the best of the rest in a division dominated by three teams - Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and current pacesetters Barcelona.

6.33pmSpeaking ahead of this evening's game, Marcelino was quick to admit that his side face a very different test over the coming 90 minutes. Liverpool were not quite at their free-flowing best a week ago, it is fair to say, but the Villarreal boss expects to see them pressing right from the off tonight. The Reds, boosted by their vociferous home backing, will no doubt look to get in their opponents' faces right from the word go. The big question - will the visitors look to remain compact or instead go in search of a crucial away goal?

6.36pmDID YOU KNOW? Fifty-nine per cent of teams to win 1-0 at home in the first leg of a Europa League knockout tie have gone on to progress into the next round since 2009-10 - 16 out of 27 sides in all. That is certainly a stat that points in favour of Villarreal getting the job done tonight, but it is not too overwhelming to discourage neutrals from putting their money on Klopp's men once again pulling off a big home result. This really is a very tough match to call.

6.39pmWhile Villarreal recovered from an opening-game defeat in the competition to secure their passage through, Liverpool appeared to simply coast through Group B ahead of FC Sion, Rubin Kazin and Bordeaux. It was a stale opening month or so, in truth, as an under-fire Brendan Rodgers guided his side to a couple of draws before Klopp took over in October. Two wins and four stalemates proved enough to take top spot, setting up meetings with Augsburg, Manchester United and Dortmund in the three knockout rounds thus far.

6.42pmThe Augsburg game followed the theme of the group stage, as the Reds produced a largely underwhelming display to just about scrape through thanks to a James Milner penalty five minutes into the second leg. The Man United showdown certainly whet the appetite, though, in a battle between two teams largely battling to keep their campaigns alive. It was a decent showdown overall, which the Reds deservedly edged 3-1 over two legs to record a famous result in their proud European history.

Dejan 'Sophia' Lovren celebrates his stoppage-time winner during the Europa League quarter-final between Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund on April 14, 2016© Getty Images

6.45pmIn terms of their more recent overall form, the Reds have actually lost their last two outings - including the narrow reverse in Spain seven days ago - and gone three without a win. The 2-2 draw with Newcastle United here would have felt like a defeat, too, having let slip a comfortable two-goal advantage before succumbing to Rafael Benitez's side. Then came Sunday's 3-1 loss at Swansea City - arguably the sloppiest performance of Klopp's tenure to date, albeit with a weakened side with tonight's match in mind.

6.48pmIt is worth mentioning that the Reds had previously four on the bounce, in a run that included impressive victories over Dortmund and near-rivals Everton at Anfield. Defeat to Swansea has left Liverpool sitting in eighth in the Premier League table; seemingly too far away from a top-five finish with in-form teams also chasing down Man United, but also strong enough to see off those trailing in their wake. Make no mistake about it - winning the Europa League this term is Klopp's only hope of playing in Europe's showpiece competition next season.

6.51pmIt has now been nine years since Liverpool last contested a European Cup final of any sort, which they lost to AC Milan in a repeat of the famous 2005 final. That was around the time that the Reds were cup specialists of sorts, often making it far in knockout competition and just about keeping their silverware tally ticking along in that regard. It has not been quite as bright in more recent times for supporters, however, with near-misses now a more common sight than a trophy actually being lifted.

6.53pmThrow in a few Premier League title challengers that fell marginally short, particularly a couple of seasons back under Brendan Rodgers, and you can see why fans of this famous club have become so desperate for some sort of success. Klopp looks certain to be the man to deliver titles, whether that be in Europe or domestically speaking, but he must also end an ongoing hoodoo if that is to happen. The eccentric German boss has incredibly lost each of the last four finals he has taken charge of - including the Reds' League Cup defeat to Man City earlier this year.

6.56pmWinning the Europa League would also mark a very impressive debut campaign on English shores for Klopp, whose arrival at Melwood seven months ago now was on a par with Jose Mourinho's first coming a decade prior. This is a man supposedly wanted by all of Europe's elite at the start of the season; a man who chose his heart over his head in some regards and decided that the lure of Anfield's famous atmosphere - similar to that of former club Dortmund's - was simply too much to turn down. It has been a steady start overall, but can he now end this maiden campaign on a real high?

6.59pmLiverpool have suffered back-to-back defeats under Klopp for the first time, in fact, which just goes to show how steady things have been. That is not to say it has been a perfect three-quarter season under the German, because it has not, but already the positives are clear to see. The ex-Dortmund manager admitted in the build-up to this game that he needs each and every supporter to recreate the atmosphere witnessed here against his former side last month, which he believes may just be the difference between winning and losing come the end of the tie.

7.01pmTEAM NEWS!

LIVERPOOL XI: Mignolet, Clyne, Toure, Lovren, Moreno, Can, Milner, Lallana, Firmino, Coutinho, Sturridge

VILLARREAL XI: Areola, Mario, Musacchio, Victor, Costa, Dos Santos, Pina, Bruno, Denis, Soldado, Bakambu

7.04pmThe team news has landed, and it makes interesting reading to say the least as far as Liverpool supporters are concerned. The headline news is that Emre Can, a player who was expected to play no further part this season for the Reds, returns to the starting lineup. The versatile German star has been out for a month with an ankle injury and, having returned to full training earlier this week, he has been declared fit enough to play a part from the off at Anfield tonight.

7.07pmThe other big news is that Daniel Sturridge is given the nod up top, as a fair few predicted in the hours leading up to the team news being released. Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino provide some attacking support in a team showing seven changes from the defeat in South Wales four days ago, as Klopp reverts back to his strongest possible starting lineup with the addition of the returning Can.

Daniel 'damn, back at it again with the white vans' Sturridge scores the third during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Everton on April 20, 2016© Getty Images

7.10pmLiverpool still have a fair few long-term absentees battling to regain fitness ahead of the summer, including Danny Ings, Joe Gomez and Jordan Henderson, while Mamadou Sakho is also unavailable due to his recent failed drugs test. Divock Origi is the other star player on the sidelines following a cruel injury picked up last month, meaning a back-door route into the team for Sturridge who constantly feels as though he has a point to prove. What bigger stage to prove it than in the second leg of a European semi-final clash.

7.13pmSwitching attention to the visitors now, and Marcelino has once more decided to rotate keepers by bringing in Areola for Sergio Asenjo from last week's first leg. Leo Baptistao returned to full training this week but fails to make it into the Yellow Submarine's starting lineup, while centre-back Eric Bailly has also failed to overcome the groin injury that he picked up in last week's opener. Some better news for Marcelino, though, as Cedric Bakambu is fit and firing up top.

7.16pmOnly Athletic Bilbao's Aritz Aduriz (10) has more goals than Bakambu's nine this season in the Europa League, while the man providing the ammunition tonight, Denis Suarez, has a tournament-high six assists to his name - the latest of which set up Lopez's winner at El Madrigal last time out. Bruno Soriano and Mario Gaspar were both rested in the win over Valencia at the weekend, but they are both named from the off this evening in a game that Villarreal lead 1-0 at this midway point.


LIVERPOOL SUBS: Ward, Benteke, Lucas, Allen, Skrtel, Ibe, Smith

VILLARREAL SUBS: Asenjo, Bonera, Samuel, Adrian, Castillejo, Rukavina, Trigueros

7.21pmSo seven changes in all for the hosts, then, with Can coming straight into the squad to start tonight's crucial second-leg showdown. Joe Allen is hugely unlucky to miss out, having to settle for a place on the bench, while Benteke will offer a more direct attacking option if called upon. Jordon Ibe offers width, meanwhile, and there is defensive cover at the back in the shape of Martin Skrtel. Plenty of options for Villarreal to call upon, too, but keeper Asenjo may be the most disappointed of the lot to be omitted.

7.24pmSo Liverpool certainly have a strong enough squad this evening to get the job done, and they also boast an impressive record on home soil of late. They may have slipped up against Newcastle recently but there has been no defeat here since January, with 14 goals being scored in the four most recent outings alone. Klopp talked up the importance of Anfield in yesterday's press conference - little wonder why when taking into account the stunning win over Dortmund on Merseyside not so long ago.

7.27pmJust the four wins in 15 meetings with La Liga opposition at Anfield does not paint all that bright a picture, though, especially when considering five of those games ended in defeat. But the Reds have indeed managed to progress from three of their last five semi-final ties after losing away from home in the first leg, completely dismissing that stat mentioned a little earlier about second-leg advantages, with the Merseyside outfit one of the best around at turning defeats into victories right when it counts.

7.30pmFurthermore, Liverpool have also won their last seven home second-leg tie in Europe, producing some of the great nights that the European Cup has seen in its long and proud history. It is the secondary competition that is hanging in the balance tonight, however, as the Reds go in search of Europa League glory to mark what would be a successful maiden campaign on these shores for Klopp since taking over from Brendan Rodgers in October. Either Sevilla or Shakhtar will await one of these two teams in the final, which will be contested in Basel's St Jakob Park later this month.

Adrian Lopez celebrates his goal during the La Liga match between Valencia and Villarreal  at the Mestalla stadium on May 1, 2016© AFP

7.33pmPREVIOUS MEETINGS! These two sides have met just once before in a competitive match - last week's showdown at El Madrigal which Adrian Lopez's late goal settled. Liverpool have won three of their last four games against Spanish opposition in European knockout fixtures, however, conceding only twice in a run that includes just the one defeat. The Reds have lost four of their last five outings against Spanish opposition overall, though, so history suggests that this one really could go either way.

7.36pmContinuing with these quirky stats, Villarreal have not won on any of their last five visits to England in competitive action, scoring just once during that spell. One of those matches includes a narrow defeat to Arsenal in 2005, you may remember, as the Gunners just about edged through over two legs to book a meeting with Barcelona in the grand final in Paris. As mentioned a little earlier, the Yellow Submarine have never made it to the last two of a European competition.

7.39pmWith kickoff now a little over 20 minutes away, let us switch attention to the pre-match thoughts from both camps ahead of this huge Europa League semi-final second-leg showdown at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp: "If we play our best then we can go to the final. These players gave me a lot of positive signs about their qualities. We are ready. All that we have done since [I arrived in] October was to be perfectly prepared for a game like this. But there is absolutely no pressure from outside. Everything we do we do for all of us. I know how difficult it will be but I am more a person who takes the chance than fears trying something – so let's give it a go."

Marcelino: "We come here full of hope. We're going to give everything we have got and we will enjoy ourselves. Our main aim is to be competitive. We feel we have the capabilities to make it through to the final. In no way whatsoever will we be affected negatively by the atmosphere; if anything we will be affected positively. It's going to be different to the first leg. We expect them to push us high up the pitch and to play more directly. They may play a different system with a different player or two but it won't condition what we do. We know where they're dangerous and the important thing is to counter their strengths."

7.42pmSo Marcelino expecting a different game to last week's cagey affair; one which Liverpool need to score in if they are to force extra time and possibly penalties. A lot has been made of the noise that can be generated at Anfield, of course, but as Villarreal's well-respected coach mentioned below, it is not something that will massively faze experienced players. Either way, expect plenty of pressing from the Reds right from the off!

7.45pmIn terms of Liverpool boss Klopp, he has no doubt that he is managing the better side tonight. "Play to our best", the German says, "and we can get through to a final". It was interesting to hear yesterday the former Dortmund boss mention the lack of pressure on his side, which I have to disagree with. This is a game that the Reds should be winning, and could potentially be the difference between a decent-ish campaign and a very successful one. Silverware will surely arrive under Klopp, but these next couple of weeks could be huge in setting down a marker.

7.48pmIt is not exactly a stress-free match for the visitors, either, as they are desperate to create some history by winning their first European title. After securing a top-four spot in La Liga earlier this week, they will be on a real high heading to Anfield and backed by some vociferous supporters of their own. Remaining compact in midfield and the back throughout will be key, particularly with Firmino, Sturridge and Coutinho all starting, but in Suarez and Bakambu the Yellow Submarine have some real quality in attack of their own.

7.50pmLiverpool supporters see the Europa League as a major draw for the club. Their history may suggest that they are more accustomed to battling for the Champions League, but reaching Europe's showpiece competition will likely have to come via the back-door route over the coming years. It is another big evening of football at Anfield, with fans greeting the players' arrival at the ground in the only way they know how.

7.53pmPREDICTION! So not an awful lot between the two sides in terms of their domestic form this season, then, but it is Villarreal who will be the more confident heading into this match - not leas because of the slender advantage they hold at this midway point. The onus is very much on Liverpool to find a goal, but the Reds know better than any other side that the game is not lost until that full-time whistle sounds - just ask Borussia Dortmund's players! I am backing this one to go all the way in what should be a long night, although I think the Yellow Submarine will progress through on penalties in the end.

7.56pmBoth sets of players will begin making their way into the tunnel area in the coming minutes, with kickoff at Anfield scheduled for 20:05 this evening. Incidentally, the referee this evening is Viktor Kassai of Hungary, who has taken charge of seven European fixtures this term. His last match came a couple of weeks back in his homeland, as he oversaw Ujpest Dozsa's 2-2 draw with Ferencvaros. No cards shown in that one, but 28 shown in total in his other outings.

7.59pmYou'll Never Walk Alone is being belted around Anfield, with both sets of players now in the tunnel area. A superb atmosphere around this famous venue this evening as ever for a European fixtures. A special mosaic formed, too, for the 96 victims of Hillsborough - as poignant as ever. Around 2,000 supporters from Villarreal playing their part, in what was an emotional tribute.

8.02pmHere we go, then - both teams now out on the field of play, greeted by a superb applause from all four sections of the ground. A first European final in nine years on the line for Liverpool, a side so synonymous with success on the continent, while Villarreal are going in search of their first ever appearance in the last two. The incentive is there, but who will take it and progress through? It is time to find out!

1 minKICKOFF! Liverpool get proceedings underway at Anfield, sporting their traditional all-red home strip. Villarreal, famously nicknamed the Yellow Submarine, quickly setting out in their compact shape at the back.

3 minan early breakdown in communication at the back from the visitors, which almost allows Liverpool to pounce. Coutinho played in Firmino down the left, who swung in a cross in the box which looked simple enough for Areola to deal with. The returning goalkeeper failed to do so, however, but was able to get on the second ball before a player in red.

5 minSAVE! Villarreal just able to settle down a little more after that shaky start. They could have had a crucial away goal, too, but Mario's strike from Soldado's knockdown in the box was well kept out by a sprawling Mignolet.

7 minMore pressure from Villarreal, this time when top-scorer Bakambu charges towards the box and sees a fortunate deflection fall for Dos Santos to blast over the bar. Liverpool need to be careful here - they are getting a little ahead of themselves and allowing the visitors to break forward.


9 minThey have been second best in these opening eight minutes or so, but Liverpool have opened the scoring at Anfield. Moments after Mignolet kept out Suarez's drive, a Clyne cross from the right was poorly dealt with by Areola and it came back into a central position for Sturridge to turn home. It may have come off Bruno on its way through, but the Englishman will no doubt be claiming it.

11 minSo there we have it - that one-goal first-leg advantage has been completely wiped out less than 10 minutes in at Anfield. Areola has just made his third shocker of the night, but the referee's whistle - probably correctly - is blown to spare his blushes. Marcelino might be thinking of some further rotation between the sticks early on here.

13 minCHANCE! Having seen that Liverpool opener again, it quite clearly takes a hefty touch off Bruno Soriano on its way through so it will go down as an own goal for the time being. A big chance for the Reds to bag a second, meanwhile, as a superb ball from Milner around the back is sent narrowly wide by the slightest of Lallana touches from close range.

15 minWell two Villarreal openings aside in the first five minutes of this match, it has been a fine start to the match for the hosts. The Reds just pegging their opponents right back in their own half, barely letting them breath. The more they can test shaky keeper Areola the better.

17 minVillarreal's best attacking move since going behind comes to an end when Toure cuts out Dos Santos down the Liverpool left. Moreno caught far too high up the field there, which is something that has so often proved costly for his side this campaign.

19 minFar better from the Yellow Submarine over the past few minutes to wrestle back some control of this game. A cross form the right is easily cut out by Mignolet on this occasion, but Liverpool now having to do far more defending than witnesses over the previous 10 minutes.

21 minMilner hobbling along at the moment following a challenge in the middle of the park. That is one to keep an eye on - the skipper would be a big loss were he to leave the field following last week's impressive showing at El Madrigal.

23 minVillarreal created a superb chance five minutes in which Mignolet did very well to keep out and, just two minutes later, Sturridge was helping to put the ball in the net up the other end via a deflection off Soriano to leave us all square of aggregate.

Roberto Soldado reacts to a missed chance during the Europa League semi-final between Villarreal and Liverpool on April 28, 2016© AFP

25 minA great defensive header from Pina to nod behind from a corner. A couple of Liverpool players just waiting to pounce at the back post, but the Villarreal No.4 was there first to concede a second set-piece in succession.

27 minThe game has gone through a quiet spell over the past 10 minutes or so, with neither team able to truly muster any openings. Liverpool will be happier with how things are panning out at this stage; still looking the likelier to score thanks to some impressive movement in the final third.

29 minYELLOW CARD! Denis Suarez extremely lucky to get away with a yellow when putting a leg out to trip Milner, but Victor Ruiz not quite so lucky as he enters the referee's book for a similar cynical challenge. Lovren gets a header on target from the resultant free kick, which Areola this time collects.

31 minSo much energy on display from Liverpool so far this evening, which has left their opponents somewhat rattled. Things in danger of boiling over now, as Soldado reacts angrily to Lovren's challenge. Referee Viktor Kassai does well to just calm the situation by speaking to both players.

33 minso much of this game currently being played on the edge of the Villarreal box. Liverpool just unable to create any clear-cut openings since opening the scoring, but their high-energy start to this second leg suggests that those chances will arrive at some stage.

35 minYELLOW CARD! A clumsy Nathaniel Clyne on tricky midfielder Denis Suarez sees him become the second player to be shown a yellow. Villarreal still looking very flustered, although they are starting to get forward a little more now.

37 minLiverpool really are looking to keep their opponents pegged in their own final third, but all their hard work is not paying dividends in terms of chances. Plenty of deliveries into the box already tonight, though just the one - Soriano deflected - goal to show for it.

39 minAreola makes a couple of straightforward catches from crosses into the box, which should settle his nerves a little more. The Yellow Submarine will take half time about now, with Liverpool continuing to build up a head of steam as we enter the final five minutes of the half.

41 minYELLOW CARD! A real silly challenge from Soldado on Coutinho leaves referee Viktor Kassai with very little choice but to once more reach into his pocket. Villarreal desperately struggling to settle, with Marcelino perhaps needing to change things at the break.

43 minAll stats point towards a dominant first half showing from the Reds, but they need to up their shot count in the second half if they are to take the lead in this match. Lallana catches an opponent with a late challenge, though referee Kassai decides that just a warning will suffice on this occasion.

45 minNo added time at the end of this first half, so we are just seconds away from the interval. Both teams will be happy enough to hear that whistle following a high energy opening 45 minutes at Anfield.


8.52pmHalf a chance for Bakambu at the end of the opening 45 minutes, but the striker could only send his shot into the hands of Mignolet - his first sight of goal all game. It has been an entertaining match on the whole thus far, and one that Liverpool deservedly lead on the night through a Bruno Soriano own goal inside the opening 10 minutes.

8.55pmThe best chance of the early stages fell Villarreal's way, as Soldado's knockdown allowed Denis Suarez to unleash a decent shot which Mignolet pushed to safety. The deflected drive was heading for goal, and it proved to be a big moment in the game even at that early stage when Sturridge turned Firmino's cross towards the net for Soriano to cruelly divert home.

8.58pmThe sweetest of Milner passes should have ended with Lallana tapping home from close range soon after, but the Englishman instead sent his shot narrowly wide with the smallest of touches. In a half that Liverpool largely dominated, that actually proved to be it in terms of real chances with Lovren's on-target header the only real moment worth mentioning. This one remains on a knife edge heading into the second half.


LIVERPOOL SUBS: Ward, Benteke, Lucas, Allen, Skrtel, Ibe, Smith

VILLARREAL SUBS: Asenjo, Bonera, Samuel, Adrian, Castillejo, Rukavina, Trigueros

9.04pmAll square at 1-1 after 135 minutes of this Europa League tie, with a maximum of 75 minutes still left to play. Will something give in the second half at Anfield? Let's find out...

Kolo Toure shows Roberto Soldado his gravity shoes during the Europa League semi-final between Villarreal and Liverpool on April 28, 2016© AFP

46 minRESTART! Villarreal get us back underway on Merseyside. It was a difficult opening 45 minutes for La Liga's fourth-placed side, but they are still in a very strong position to progress through this evening.

48 minBakambu gets himself in just minutes into the second half, but his shot was superbly blocked by Lovren. A key challenge that to deny the in-form forward, whose only two openings have arrived either side of the interval.

50 minSAVE! An explosive start to the second half, as this time Liverpool get in behind through Sturridge. The Englishman's cross was corned behind for a corner, which Coutinho worked into a shooting position to test Areola at his front post. Good keeping on that occasion, but the youngster made a right meal of a cross into the box moments later which he got away with.

52 minSHOT! Milner the latest Liverpool player to test Areola, but his shot was simple enough for the keeper to keep out. Seconds later it was Sturridge's turn to take range, which again Areola got well behind. Klopp clearly told his players to target the Villarreal stopper.

54 minSo still no way through for Liverpool since opening the scoring early on. Sevilla well on their way to the Basel final later this month, meanwhile, as they now lead Shakhtar in the other final-four showdown. A Villarreal goal could set up two all-Spanish finals in European competition.

56 minA rare chance for Villarreal to get the ball into the box. Dos Santos does exactly that from a deep free kick, sending the ball intro a central position for Soldado to glance wide of the target. Benteke currently warming-up on the sidelines for Liverpool.

58 minWe are reaching the stage in the game where substitutions are likely to be utilises by both managers. They will be key, too, with this game delicately poised at this late stage. Milner's latest corner kick is headed clear by Soldado at the front post.

60 minVILLARREAL SUB! Manuel Trigueros is on for Tomas Pina in a like-for-like change on the hour. Marcelino the first to roll the dice, then, with Klopp still very much weighing up his options. The game going through a quiet spell at the moment.

62 minLallana gets in behind for the first time in a while, again set free by a Milner pass, but he fails to pick out a teammate. A few cries for handball from home supporters, but referee Viktor Kassai was having none of it.

63 minVillarreal opening up a little more, which allows Liverpool to spring a counter through Sturridge. The striker did well, too, but Areola was quick off his line to thwart the danger.


65 minLiverpool have taken the lead in this semi-final tie for the first time, and it is Daniel Sturridge who was bagged the goal. Firmino's ball made its way through to the Englishman, who simply kept his cool to tuck the ball beyond Areola via the right-hand post. What a moment for Sturridge; what a moment for Liverpool!

67 minSo no extra time will be required at Anfield this evening after that Sturridge strike. Bakambu has been underwhelming this evening, and he fluffs his lines from his latest opening which will spark a change or two for the visitors.

69 minVILLARREAL SUB! Soldado's return to English shores ends rather disappointingly, as he is hauled off 21 minutes from time to make way for Adrian Lopez. Will that change spark the Yellow Submarine into life at long last?

71 minRED CARD! Victor Ruiz has been shown a second yellow for a late challenge on Firmino to make Villarreal's task even more difficult. Only a real collapse would prevent the Reds reaching the final now, with less than 20 minutes left to play.

73 minVILLARREAL SUB! Final change of the evening made by Marcelino; Daniele Bonera replacing Jonathan dos Santos for the final stages of this match. Sturridge's strike 10 minutes ago looks likely to be enough to send Liverpool through to the final.

Daniel 'damn, back at it again with the white vans' Sturridge scores the third during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Everton on April 20, 2016© Getty Images

75 minSAVE! Areola has been pretty shocking this evening, but he has produced a routine stop to deny Firmino from long range. The Yellow Submarine have badly struggled all night to get create anything, and that does not look like changing anytime soon.

77 minStill very tense at Anfield despite Liverpool's superiority, as one goal from the visitors will be enough to send them through on away goals. The Yellow submarine win a corner kick which fails to beat the first man, pretty much summing up their night thus far.

79 minSo, so silly from Moreno, as he shoves Suarez off the ball inside the box. The referee was right not to give a penalty, but some officials may have pointed to the spot after that needless challenge. Liverpool cannot afford to lose their heads at this late stage.


82 minThat should do it! Liverpool secure their place in the final of the Europa League with a third goal of the night to open up a 3-1 aggregate lead. Firmino again played a key part, working some space on the left and picking out Sturridge, who rather scuffed his shot. Lallana, possibly offside, was waiting a few yards out to simply flick the ball over the line.

84 minSAVE! Villarreal's players so incredibly frustrated now following a rather poor display. Can takes on a shot from range which Areola easily kept out, while Sturridge missed from a one-one-one position in the next attacking move.

86 minLiverpool, who now have Joe Allen on the field to help them see out the game, look more like scoring a fourth of the tie rather than conceding. A superb showing from the Reds, with a deserving place in the final right on the horizon now.

88 minA Suarez cross into the box is cleared away for what seems like the 1,000th time this evening. Liverpool have simply wanted this more, and have looked good value for a three-goal win on the night. Less than two minutes of normal time to play.

90 minLIVERPOOL SUB! Benteke is introduced for the first of three minutes added on in place of star man Firmino. You'll Never Walk Alone rings out around Anfield for one final time tonight.

90+2 minLIVERPOOL SUB! Sturridge leaves the field to a great applause, with Lucas Leiva the man on in his place. Great showing from the striker, who is clearly back in Klopp's good books at this moment in time.



10.00pmSo there we have it - Liverpool will face reigning champions Sevilla in the final of the 2016 Europa League in Basel later this month. It was a well-deserved win for the Reds in the end, coming after Bruno Soriano opened the scoring with a rather unfortunate own goal early on. Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana made sure of the win in the second half, meaning a first European final in nine years for the Merseyside outfit.

10.02pmWell that concludes Sports Mole's live text coverage of events at Anfield. An on-the-whistle report of tonight's match can be found by clicking here, while reaction from both camps will follow in due course. Until then, thanks for joining!

Jurgen Norbert Klopp knows where his loyalties lie during the Europa League quarter-final between Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund on April 14, 2016
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