Liverpool 2-0 Villarreal: Champions League semi-final, first leg – live reaction! | Champions League

Full time: Liverpool 2-0 Villarreal

Peep! Peep! Peeeeeep! It’s all over at Anfield, where Liverpool have run out comfortable winners in the end despite a frustrating first half. A Pervis Estupinan goal after industrious work from Jordan Henderson broke the deadlock, while Sadio Mane stabbed home close range just two minutes later. Liverpool are in the box-seat at half-time in this semi-final tie but Villarreal is not completely out of it yet.

90 + 2 min: Villarreal win a free-kick for what looked to be a fairly inoccupational challenge by Serge Aurier by Fabinho. The ball’s swung in the left and Liverpool clear. Full time.

90 + 1 min: Raul Albiol makes a mess of a defensive header as he gets under a ball deep but recovers in time to prevent Divock Origi capitalizing.

89 min: After a frustrating first-half, Liverpool settled their nerves with a quick-fire double but thus far failed to put the tie beyond a Villarreal side who offered little or nothing going forward. It’s difficult to imagine they’ll fare much better on their own patch but considering Liverpool’s superiority, they’ll be delighted to escape with a two-goal deficit. If they escape with a two-goal deficit.

87 min: Boulaye Dia latches on a ball deep and shoots straight at Alisson. Offside.

4 min: Villarreal substitution: Paco Alcacer replaces Arnaud Danjuma, who’s barely had a touch of the ball.

82 min: Liverpool continue to dominate as their goalkeeper Alisson gets a rare touch from a back-pass. He’s been a spectator tonight – there are several Anfield ballboys who have handled the ball more often than he has this evening.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker watches in the first half of the action. Photograph: Ian Stephen / ProSports / Shutterstock

80 min: Luis Diaz rolls an inviting cross through the Villarreal penalty area but has no hands to convert. Liverpool double-substitution: Joe Gomez and Divock Origi on Trent Alexander-Arnold and Luis Diaz.

78 min: Also looking decidedly unimpressed: Sadio Mane as he went off to be replaced by Diogo Jota. He did, however, get a big hug from his manager and a round of appreciative applause from the Anfield hordes.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp gives Sadio Mane a congratulatory hug as he is substituted.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp gives Sadio Mane a congratulatory hug as he is substituted. Photograph: Soccrates Images / Getty Images

77 min: While I was taking care of that personnel admin, Villarreal won a corner and was completely wasted it. On the sideline, their manager Unai Emery looked decidedly unimpressed.

75 min: Villarreal substitution I may have missed earlier: Alfonso Pepraza for Francois Coquelin.

73 min: Villarreal triple-substitution: Boulaye Dia, Serge Aurier and Manu Trigueros for Pervis Estupinan, Dani Parejo and Samuel Chukwueze.

72 min: Liverpool double-substitution: Sadio Mane and Jordan Henderson off, Diogo Jota and Naby Keita on.

71 min: Rulli flaps at a cross and Luis Diaz tries to hook the ball across the face of the goal. Raul Albiol hacks clear with a total defensive dither on his side.

70 min: Estupinan concedes a corner as Liverpool continue to turn the screw.

68 min: Liverpool are rampantGeneral Chat Chat Lounge Luis Diaz curls a low, deflected shot wide of the upright moments after Rulli had parried a Virgil van Dijk shot from distance that seemed to swerve in various directions as it approached him.

66 min: Albiol anticipates and cuts out a Salah backheel in the path of Trent Alexander-Arnold as the Liverpool right-back went marauding in the Villarreal penalty area after linking up with his team-mate and galloping forward in anticipation of the return pass.

65 min: At the far post and on the volley, Andy Robertson sidefoots home a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross from the right. Offside and there was nothing marginal about this call.

Liverpool's Andrew Robertson scores a goal that was disallowed.
Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson fires home from an offside position, so it stays 2-0. Photograph: Carl Recine / Action Images / Reuters

63 min: Replays and a freeze-frame show allowed Mane to stay on the side by a whisker as he ran a beautifuully weighted short pass from Mo Vila to the Villarreal penalty area before prodding home to Liverpool’s second.

61 min: Villarreal are on the ropes and in a total panic as the tie threatens to get away completely from them. Gio Lo Celso is booked for a foul on Andy Robertson.

60 min: Salah dribbles into the Villarreal box and goes down, apparently the victim of a Juan Foyth clothesline. No penalty, despite vociferous appeals from Liverpool’s players and fans.

58 min: Henderson’s been having an ineffective game by his own lofty standards but he helped fire his side forward. His passing cross took a huge deflection off Pervis Estupinan, looped over Rulli and into the Villarrealk goal. It’s gone down as an Estupinan own goal but there were, it must be said, a queue of Liverpool players waiting to convert if the Ecuadorian hadn’t stuck his leg.

57 min: Yes he was. Mane’s goal survives a VAR check from Tomasz Kwiatkowski and Liverpool are two goals to good. That’s his 20th of the season, his past seven appearances in his sixth.

GOAL! Liverpool 2-0 Villarreal (Mane)

Now it ‘s two! Sadio Mane doubles to Liverpool’s lead, scoring in his second two minutes. He runs on a weighted short pass from Salah and stabs home, but was he offside?

Liverpool's Sadio Mane scores his team's second goal.
Sadio Mane doubles Liverpool’s lead. Photograph: Tom Jenkins / The Guardian

GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Villarreal (Estupinan og)

Liverpool are in the front. A Jordan Henderson cross from the right takes a vicious deflection, loops over the outstretched hand of Rulli and into the Villarreal goal.

All eyes are on the ball as it goes into the net after a cross by Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is deflected into the net by Villarreal's Pervis Estupinan.
All eyes are on the ball as it goes into the net after a cross by Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is deflected into the net by Villarreal’s Pervis Estupinan. Photograph: Tom Jenkins / The Guardian
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is congratulated by his team-mates after his cross is deflected into the net by Villarreal's Pervis Estupinan.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is congratulated by his team-mates. Photograph: Tom Jenkins / The Guardian
Liverpool fans celebrate.
Liverpool fans celebrate. Photograph: Tom Jenkins / The Guardian

52 min: From a central position, Alexander-Arnold dinks into a lovely ball into the Villarreal penalty area for Luis Diaz. He does not connect properly with his header and Rulli gathers comfortably.

50 min: Fabinho hacks the ball home seven yards from a Liverpool corner but his “goal” is ruled out for the offside. Virgil van Dijk was offside in the build-up as Sadio Mane headed the outswinger back into the mixer.

48 min: Villarreal left-back Pervis Estupinan is booked for a foul on the edge of the Villarreal box near Salah. Nothing comes of the free-kick but Liverpool continues to apply pressure.

46 min: Mo Salah sends a cross gliding into the Villarreal box and Villarreal center-half Pau Torres gets his head to it. Luckily for him, Geronimo Rulli was on hand to catch his inadvertently goal-bound “effort”.

Second half: Liverpool 0-0 Villarreal

46 min: Play resumes with no changes in personnel on either side.

Half-time: Liverpool 0-0 Villarreal

Peep! The first half that was extremely low on quality is brought to a close by our Polish referee, Szymon Marciniak. Liverpool has dominated throughout but Villarreal’s defense has been nothing if not obdurate. The Spanish side has their hosts frisutrated, who have been conspicuously lacking a bit of a cutting edge or killer pass in the final third.

45 + 1 min: Villarreal enjoy a rare excursion out of their own half but it doesn’t last long.

42 min: Oof! Thiago Alcantara hits the top of the left upright with a curled shot from a distance.

Liverpool's Thiago shoots away from the woods and hits the woodwork.
Liverpool’s Thiago shoots from distance … Photograph: Tom Jenkins / The Guardian
Liverpool's Thiago reacts after a missed scoring opportunity.
And reacts after hitting the woodwork. Photograph: Jon Super / AP

41 min: Mane overhits a short pass to Luis Diaz on the edge of the Villarreal penalty area. Juan Foyth slides in to steal the ball with a perfectly timed if slightly risky tackle. The denizens of the KOP appeal for a penalty but none is forthcoming.

39 min: Luis Diaz is penalized for a foul on the edge of the Villarreal penalty area near Dani Parejo. The visitors are making this game as attractive as possible for Liverpool and the natives are getting audibly restless.

36 min: With a rare attack on Villarreal, Dani Parejo tries to pick out Lo Celso with a ball from the touchline. His target gets a touch on the ball but is on the stretch and can’t control it.

35 min: From the byline, Alexander-Arnold first-time a Robertson ball from deep across the Villarreal penalty area. Salah gets on the end of his cross but steer it wide.

Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold in action with Villarreal's Pervis Estupinan.
Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold’s first time cross evades Villarreal’s Pervis Estupinan … Photograph: Phil Noble / Reuters
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah attempts a shot at goal and misses.
And finds Mohamed Salah but the Liverpool forward can’t find the target. Photograph: Jon Super / AP

34 min: A salah volley is blocked by a Giovani lo Celso lunge. It’s a Liverpool corner, which is Villarreal clear.

33 min: Liverpool keep hammering on the Villarreal door. A mane shot is deflected past Rulli by Raul Albiol but drifts narrowly wide of the upright.

32 min: Villarreal goalkeeper Rulli Parries gets a shot into no-man’s land but gets away with it, then Virgil van Dijk is booked for a bodycheck on Samuel Chukwueze.

31 min: Liverpool attack down the right again with ALexander-Arnold and Salah linking up to good effect. Salah tries to pick out a mane run but Pau Torres intercepts and clears.

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