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Liverpool 3-0 Villarreal (3-1 agg): Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana send Reds to Europa League final


Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana scored the goals which sent Liverpool to the Europa League final, beating Villarreal 3-0 at Anfield (3-1 aggregate).

The Reds were well worth their victory, dominating from the opening whistle to the final seconds of the game.

Villarreal were hard done by when Bruno Soriano sent the ball into his own net, but Jurgen Klopp’s men continued to attack, and they really should have added more than just Sturridge and Lallana’s strikes.

The own goal pulled the Reds level on aggregate after just seven minutes, as Liverpool looked to dominate their opponents early on.

A series of good attacks proved that the visitor’s defence was struggling to cope with the Reds’ threat, and Jurgen Klopp’s men took the advantage after some great play in midfield.

Emre Can drove forward to the edge of the box, before spraying a pass out to the unmarked Nathaniel Clyne on the right-wing.

His cross was palmed wide by goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, straight into the path of Roberto Firmino, who then sent the ball back into the centre of the area.

Sturridge failed to make contact, but Soriano unfortunately couldn’t prevent the ball cannoning off him and past his own keeper.

Klopp’s men looked to double their lead soon after, attacking with verve for much of the first-half, and refusing to allow Villarreal the chance to threaten Simon Mignolet’s goal.

Emre Can failed to convert from close range after some great defending, Lallana dragged just wide after James Milner’s excellent right-wing cross, while Areola did well to hold a Dejan Lovren header from a corner.

The visitors struggled to show any sort of attacking threat, and it took until the final kick of the first-half until Mignolet was seriously tested.

Cedric Bakambu fired straight at the Belgian stopper after a good counter attack, and there was a belief that El Submarino Amarillo couldn’t be much worse in the second period.

However, it was the hosts who continued to dominate, hoping to take advantage of Areola’s dodgy handling of the ball.

They were peppering his goal from range, Sturridge and Milner both shooting with the hope of catching him out. However, he looked more assured after the break, and was easily saving rather poor attempts.

The Reds were struggling to get close to Areola to seriously trouble him, before Sturridge won a corner after a direct run and right footed shot.

The French stopper pushed it wide, but he finally conceded the second from the resultant move, as Liverpool doubled their lead on the night and took the lead on aggregate.

The corner came to nothing, but the ball remained in and around the Villarreal area, finding its way to Firmino.

He controlled the ball and hit a left footed pass into the box, towards Sturridge – the only Liverpool player near Areola’s goal.

The English striker beat the offside trap, finishing composedly past the Frenchman to put Liverpool in the driving seat.

They knew that a Villarreal goal would still send the La Liga side through, but the hosts were handed another advantage with 20 minutes left, when Victor Ruiz was dismissed after receiving a second yellow card for a foul on the edge of the box.

Liverpool started to ramp up the pressure further following the red card, Firmino stinging the hands of Areola with a powerful strike.

It was the Brazilian who played a key role in the third, rounding off an excellent individual performance.

He charged down the left wing, breaking into the box and getting round Mateo Musacchio with ease. His cut-back was mis-hit by Sturridge, but Lallana was there to tap the ball into the back of the net, rounding off a well deserved victory and securing Liverpool’s place in the Basel final.

SEE ALSO: WATCH ALL THE GOALS AS LIVERPOOL BEAT VILLERREAL TO PROGRESS TO EUROPA LEAGUE FINAL



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