Liverpool’s hope of advancing to the finals of the Europa League has suffered a setback after loosing 1-0 against Villareal while Sevilla snatched a vital 2-2 draw in Ukraine.
It was a night of enthralling performances as Liverpool went to Spain, hoping to continue their unbeaten run in Europe this season but eventually lost to a last minute Adrian Lopez’s goal.After a first half of few chances, Cedric Bakambu’s header clipped the Reds upright shortly after the break.Liverpool went closest when Roberto Firmino’s low shot hit the post.The Reds looked set for a creditable draw in Spain until they switched off to allow substitute Adrian Lopez to tap in Denis Suarez’s low cross.Liverpool really didn’t do much especially up front where Firmino started as a false nine and Sturridge was left on the bench.Firmino was poor to boot, sloppy in possession, even if he did have Liverpool’s best chance of the night. It came in the 66th minute, put through by Milner, his shot hitting the near post. That was about the best of it from Liverpool; the rest amounted to pot luck at best, and Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo was severely underworked.
Unlike Mignolet, who made two excellent saves, first from Tomas Pina in the 21st minute, then late in the second half when Cedric Bakambu, partner to the former Tottenham man Roberto Soldado, broke through and should have scored. It was a nice ball from Suarez that split the defence, Bakambu aiming for the far corner, but thwarted by Mignolet’s outstretched hand. Luck helped Liverpool, too. Klopp has never won a European tie on Spanish soil but his record is better at home, including one fabulous night with Borussia Dortmund against Real Madrid. European nights at Anfield are special too and anything absolutely anything is possible.
Liverpool boss, Jurgen Klopp said he was disappointed with the late goal conceeded “Of course I’m not too happy with the goal we conceded in the last second. Counter-attacking in the 92nd minute makes not much sense but it is only the first leg.It is 1-0 and they have to come to Anfield where we know how strong we are. We had our moments, we defended really good. This race is not over.If we had enough players around the box it was no problem but they played this one chip ball over Kolo [Toure], I don’t know where Alberto [Moreno] was in this moment but that was the only big mistake we made in this game and they scored with it.”
Villareal manager, Marcelinho also reacted,saying “Until the final whistle you can score or concede a goal and this time we were lucky enough to score in the very last minute.We managed a good result but we don’t know if it will be enough or not until the end of the tie.It was not an unfair result and we didn’t beat Liverpool by being lucky.”
In the other game,Sevilla snatched a 2-2 draw against Shaktar Doneskt in Ukraine with a late Gameiro penalty to keep the hopes of retaining their Europa League trophy alive.The second leg will be played next week Thursday.