Villarreal defeated Liverpool 1-0 in the main leg of their Europa League semi-final with second-half substitute Adrian Lopez scoring a vital goal for the Spanish side in the final moment of damage time.
Jurgen Klopp’s men put in an exceptionally strong performance however were unable to penetrate the Yellow Submarine’s barricade and wound up leaving Spain without an extremely valuable away goal.
Here are five things that we learned from what was an exceptionally fascinating affair at the Estadio El Madrigal.
1. DANIEL STURRIDGE MUST START IN THE SECOND LEG
The greatest talking point as soon as the team sheets were released was the absence of one Liverpool name, Sturridge, with the England striker having to make do with a seat on the seat in a defining moment by and by.
Roberto Firmino was given the gesture to operate in a ‘false nine’ part as unmistakably Klopp wanted to give his makeshift midfield added support and the plan actually worked rather well.
By the by, in spite of the undeniable talents the Brazillian has, Liverpool lacked penetration going ahead and now and again, they were desperately shouting out for the bleeding edge which Sturridge conveys to this side.
With a goal now the minimal necessity at Anfield, Klopp would be astute to reinstate his most productive hostile choice and give his side the extra support to really challenge what is an extremely intense Villarreal guard.
2. DENIS SUAREZ IS A STAR IN THE MAKING
Previous Manchester City outcast Suarez has been making the most of his time in Spain this season and delivered yet another stellar performance on Thursday night.
His dubious development and ball control really gave Liverpool issues all through the hour and a half, with the youthful Spaniard really making a solid case for a move to a world class club in the mid year – Barcelona are as far as anyone knows extremely intrigued.
The unequivocal snippet of the match was orchestrated by the talented adolescent, who culled a floated ball out of the air, drove towards Simon Mignolet’s goal and smartly passed to an unmarked Lopez to tap in.
It was self-control of the most noteworthy caliber to perform quality of this level in the withering ashes of a match and the maturity demonstrated this season by Suarez highlights that he is a real star really taking shape.
3. BRUNO SORIANO SHOULD BE ON THE RADAR OF PREMIER LEAGUE CLUB’S
The up and coming transfer window will undoubtedly be spent by an entire host of top sides in England searching desperately for a central midfielder to enhance their side.
The usual names will be hurled around the gossip factory all through the late spring months, however Villareal’s Bruno is somebody who is rarely said among the arrangements of players we see regularly connected with Premier League sides.
2015/16 has been a decent season for the Spaniard with his passing, situating and command of the midfield area all massively attractive characteristics, one’s that make him ideally suited to the English game.
Klopp’s side attempted to match the class set in the match by Bruno, with his technical ability surpassing that of Liverpool’s midfield as he stroked the ball around the pitch almost easily. He’s snuck by the radar a bit, however the Villarreal man would be an exceptionally astute bit of business.
4. LUCAS LEIVA IMPRESSES IN MIDFIELD
While not displaying the same level of ability as Bruno, Lucas’ rough and coarse performance was exactly what Liverpool required in a threatening Spanish atmosphere.
With Jordan Henderson and Emre Can restricted to the sidelines, Lucas took it upon himself to assert the necessary authority in midfield to help his side get a crucial decent footing in the game and above all, ensure a makeshift focus back pairing of Dejan Lovren and Kolo Toure.
Extreme tackles, basic passing, and sensible situating all featured in what was a noteworthy performance, one which underlined his leadership qualities.
Sadly, his work was somewhat fixed by a late sucker-punch however he and Joe Allen can both leave Spain with their heads held high. Klopp will undoubtedly be happy with his two midfielders and it demonstrated that the squad alternatives available to the German are fairly adequate.
5. VILLARREAL STRIKERS SHOW GLIMPSES OF THE THREAT THEY POSSESS
Prior to the match, a considerable measure of talk concentrated on the striking partnership of Roberto Soldado and Cedric Bakambu, with the twosome really elevating Villarreal this season, the latter has also found the back of the net nine times in the Europa League this season.
Both were not at their formidable best against Liverpool but rather there were looks of how dangerous they can be. Soldado regularly dropped more profound to bolster the midfield and demonstrated a great array of passing, while also creating a shocking twisting exertion which went simply wide.
Bakambu was the main threat, extending the Reds’ back line with his pace and came near his tenth goal in Europe on two separate occasions, one exertion striking the frame of the goal.
At last, substitute Lopez was the one to get the all-important goal yet the two starting strikers displayed the threat they have to Liverpool’s chances of making the final. They will be a handful again in the second leg, one which Klopp will have to attempt and effectively contain.
Nonetheless, after the past tie against Borussia Dortmund, which culminated in a dramatic 4-3 triumph at Anfield, Liverpool will realize that this tie is far from over.