Liverpool and the lessons from those who failed against Villarreal

Liverpool meet Villarreal in the first leg of the Champions League semifinal at Anfield on Wednesday (27/4) and the Reds absolutely must learn from the failures of Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Liverpool met an opponent that was advantageous on paper but in fact better than Juventus and Bayern on the pitch. Villarreal will come and try to thwart Liverpool’s dream to maintain hope of winning four titles.

Referring to the strength of the team, Liverpool is clearly better than Villarreal. The Reds have proven to be able to show consistent performance since the year turned into 2022.

Various types of opponents have been faced and only Inter Milan is able to make Liverpool lose in 2022. But that capital certainly only provides a little additional motivation because the determinant of victory is performance on the field.

From the last two Champions League home games, Liverpool are actually worried. Apart from losing to Inter Milan, Liverpool also only drew against Benfica.

These two situations occurred when Liverpool already had a landslide victory at the opponent’s home in the first leg. Liverpool lead 3-1 over Inter at the Giuseppe Meazza and win 3-1 over Benfica in Lisbon.

This time, for the first time in the knockout phase of the Champions League this season, Liverpool will first act as the host. Liverpool must show the sacredness of Anfield as they have shown in the Premier League.

Of the 17 home games that have been played this season, Liverpool have never lost with a record of 14 wins and three draws.

Referring to the last appearance, Luis Diaz is likely to be chosen as a companion to Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah up front. While the other compositions will not change much.

Thiago Alcantara will be the general of the game in midfield with Fabinho while Virgil van Dijk is expected to lead the defense to give Alisson a sense of security.

Before facing Villarreal, Liverpool clearly deserves to look at the Juventus vs Villarreal match in the second leg of the Champions League last 16.

Juventus had many opportunities but instead collapsed with a 0-3 defeat. Villarreal can defend very well and have a deadly counter-attack.

That pattern of play is likely to be faced again by Liverpool at Anfield. Villarreal will appear disciplined in defense and will be targeting counter attacks that rely on speed.

The toughness of Villarreal’s defense was increasingly recognized when they met Bayern Munich twice and conceded only one goal. Villarreal succeeded in narrowing the space for ‘FC Hollywood’ so that they were not free to dance in their defense area.

Liverpool certainly have to be observant in arranging attacks. They have to be smart to set the tempo of the attack so that it doesn’t backfire.

Villarreal will come to Liverpool with one advantage, namely rest time. Villarreal last played on April 19 against Valencia in La Liga.

In that match, Villarreal also rested Pau Torres and a number of players such as Giovani Lo Celso, Juan Foyth, Teremi Pino, and Arnaut Danjuma did not play the full game throughout.

The advantage of this rest period will have an important role, especially when the game enters the end of the season. Villarreal will have fresh legs.

In the same period, Liverpool have to face Manchester United and Everton. The Reds only have two days of rest before preparing for the match against Villarreal.

These fresh legs are believed to be Villarreal’s weapon to try to appear disciplined and solid in defense. Salah, Sadio Mane, and Luis Diaz will not be able to easily enter just like that through the defense.

Apart from the break time advantage, Villarreal are still waiting for Gerard Moreno’s condition. Villarreal mainstay striker was injured and is still in doubtful condition.

However, if Villarreal will tend to play a counter attack strategy, the figure of Arnaut Danjuma is enough to be placed as the sole striker on the front lines.

This semifinal match is also different from that experienced by Villarreal against Bayern Munich and Juventus.

This time, Villarreal will first act as a guest team. This will open up a greater chance that Villarreal will defend as hard as they can in order to have a pretty good position when acting as hosts in the second leg.

Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli will try hard to block every kick that leads to goal. But before the opponent can aim for a shot, Pau Torres and Raul Albiol will desperately apply pressure.

If Liverpool don’t learn much from the failures of Bayern and Juventus, they could be the next victim.

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