Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool team staged an excellent second half recovery to come back from two goals down and book their place in this season’s Champions League final.
The Red's 3-2 win over Villarreal on Tuesday night definitely fell into the stereotypical category of a game of two halves! That's for sure.
To be honest, I'm still not quite sure what I witnessed. Either Villarreal played well above their usual levels in the first half of the 2nd leg, or Liverpool were abysmal.
The second half proved to be pivotal though. Goals from Fabinho, Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane in the second period saw Liverpool cancel out the 2-0 lead Villarreal had taken through first half strikes from Dia and Coquelin.
Liverpool did ride their luck though. At 1-0 they survived a penalty appeal when keeper Alisson collided with Giovani Lo Celso in the penalty area. It looked like a subjective decision that could have gone either way.
And even though BT refereeing pundit Peter Walton thought that referee Danny Makkelie got the decision correct, I'd be surprised if VAR had intervened had the penalty been given.
Further hampering Villarreal's chances was keeper Gerónimo Rulli, who had a second half to forget. He was totally at fault for Fabinho's goal that put Liverpool back in front. He then compounded that by not covering himself in glory while dashing off his line, allowing Mane to score Liverpool's third.
All in all, I think the Reds can consider themselves a touch fortunate.
Villarreal vs Liverpool; Match Highlights
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The win also sees Liverpool take over as outright favourites in the betting to win the Champions League. Klopp’s team are now 5/6 to lift the the trophy for the second time in four seasons.