Liverpool survived a scare against Villarreal to move into the Champions League final – and keep their hopes of winning an unprecedented quadruple alive.
The Reds had comfortably won 2-0 in the first leg but that advantage was wiped out after only 41 minutes at a noisy and passionate El Madrigal as the Spanish side pushed for a huge upset.
Boulaye Dia scored Villarreal’s first after only three minutes, converting Etienne Capoue’s pass, before ex-Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin headed in a second from another Capoue cross as the Reds looked rattled.
Liverpool had to improve in the second half and Fabinho put them back in front on aggregate with a shot that went through the legs of Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli in the 62nd minute.
Luis Diaz, whose introduction at half time changed the game after he replaced Diogo Jota, restored Liverpool’s two-goal aggregate advantage with a header at the back post.
Sadio Mane secured Liverpool’s place in their third Champions League final in five seasons with a third goal after taking the ball around Rulli. Villarreal ended the game with 10 men with Capoue sent off late on for two bookable offences.
The Reds will play either Manchester City or Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday, 28 May.
No English side has ever won the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, and League Cup all in the same season, with Liverpool aiming to create history.
They already have the Carabao Cup in the trophy cabinet after beating Chelsea on penalties in February and Thomas Tuchel’s side are again the opposition at Wembley for the FA Cup final on 14 May.
This victory means Liverpool have become the first English club to reach the final of the European Cup/Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup in the same season. (BBC)