Champions League, Liverpool oust Villarreal to reach final: Records broken
Premier League club Liverpool came back from behind to beat Villarreal 3-2 in the UEFA Champions League 2021-22 semi-final second-leg clash. Enjoying a 2-0 win in the first leg, the Reds were pegged back at 2-2 going into half-time. However, three superb goals in the second half saw Liverpool make a comeback and win 5-2 on aggregate. Here's more.
Boulaye Dia put Villarreal in front after just three minutes, converting Etienne Capoue's pass. Francis Coquelin scored a second from another Capoue cross. Fabinho put Liverpool back in front on aggregate with a crisp shot that went through the legs of Villarreal goal-keeper Geronimo Rulli. Diaz restored Liverpool's two-goal advantage before Sadio Mane scored the third thereafter. Villarreal had Capoue sent off late on.
- Liverpool were drawn into a chaotic first half that saw Villarreal dominate the scenes.
- At 2-2 on aggregate, the hosts needed a similar second-half show.
- However, Liverpool found a way to break Villarreal's defensive structure.
- They changed the game in no time and pocketed a win.
- Luis Diaz was prolific for Liverpool after coming on.
- Villarreal showed character but it wasn't enough.
Liverpool have reached their third UCL final in five seasons. They had lost the 2017-18 final against Real Madrid before winning the trophy in 2018-19, beating Tottenham. The Reds have become just the fourth team to reach as many as 10 European Cup/Champions League finals, after Real Madrid (16), AC Milan (11), and Bayern Munich (11).
As per Opta, Liverpool have become the first ever English club to reach the final of the European Cup/Champions League, FA Cup, and League Cup in the same season. Klopp has reached Champions League final for the fourth time as a coach. He has equaled the record set by Marcello Lippi, Sir Alex Ferguson, and Carlo Ancelotti.
As per Opta, Liverpool have scored 139 goals in 57 games in all competitions in 2021-22. This is their highest ever total in a single season in their club history. They have netted 30 goals in the ongoing Champions League season. Only Thomas Muller (21) and Kylian Mbappe (19) have provided more assists across competitions in Europe's big five leagues than Trent Alexander-Arnold (18).
As per Squawka, Jurgen Klopp is the first manager to reach the League Cup final, FA Cup final, and European Cup final in the same campaign. Thiago Alcantara has reached his third UCL final with three different clubs (previously with Barcelona and Bayern).