Madrid, April 27: Villarreal will be hoping to get lucky for the second time in the Champions League semi-finals when they travel to Anfield for the first leg of their semi-final later on Wednesday.
Unai Emery’s side have already caused two upsets in the competition this year, eliminating Juventus in the round of 16 and beating Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.
Now they intend to go one step further than in the 2005-06 season when they lost 1-0 on aggregate to Arsenal.
Emery led his team to last season’s Europa League triumph, beating Manchester United in the final, but Anfield will be a major challenge for the Spanish side.
Villarreal travels to England after the victories in their last two league games in which they beat Getafe and Valencia and the fact that they had a rest weekend is also an advantage against Liverpool, who had to play a demanding local derby against Everton on Sunday afternoon. reports Xinhua.
Spanish international striker Gerard Moreno is almost certain to miss out after failing to recover from a hamstring injury he sustained against Getafe and the game against Valencia served as a casting call for his replacement with Samuel Chukwueze and Yeremi Pino, both options to start if Emery picks. use Arnaut Danjuma in a central role.
Danjuma has improved as the season has progressed following his move from Bournemouth in the summer and the Dutch international has scored 10 goals in La Liga and six in the Champions League this season.
Villarreal also have plenty of experience playing in England, with Francis Coquelin, Etienne Capoue, Dani Parejo, Alfonso Pedraza, Serge Aurier, Alberto Moreno and Vicente Iborra all having spells in the English game, with Moreno even playing for Liverpool.
“Liverpool are the best team in Europe but as a footballer you want to play this kind of game,” Coquelin said in an interview published in The Guardian newspaper on Tuesday.
“We have a dream in the back of our necks to play in a Champions League final. We know it’s difficult but the whole team, the whole town is excited. It’s difficult but we’re confident: we eliminated Bayern Munich and Juventus”. and we go there to compete. We don’t go there just to watch Anfield,” he said.