Villarreal hit Liverpool with late sucker punch

    Alberto Moreno vies with Villarreal's Denis Suarez
    Liverpool lost 1-0 after looking comfortable for much of the game

    Liverpool lost 1-0 to Villarreal as the Spanish side snatched an undeserved goal in stoppage time at the end of the game.

    Adrian Lopez tapped in after the Reds’ defence was caught out late on after the La Liga team had struggled to make many chances.

    Jurgen Klopp had looked happy to take away a 0-0 draw after leaving Daniel Sturridge on the bench for the semi final first leg.

    But the German manager was made to pay for his cautious tactics when Lopez sealed the win for his side with his last gasp strike.

    Cedric Bakambu, who had a quiet game, had the best chance for Villarreal before the goal as his strike was saved by Simon Mignolet. The Congo international was already reeling away to celebrate as the keeper pushed the ball away.

    Alberto Moreno ran most of the length of the pitch before smashing the ball over the bar when he could have squared the ball.

    Roberto Firmino was preferred upfront to Sturridge and the Brazilian had a night to mostly forget. He struggled to get into the Villarreal box and when he did his turn saw a shot that was saved at the near post. It was the closest he came to making a positive impact.

    The former Hoffeinheim man held up the ball well at times, but his lack of movement cost his team. He gave the ball away too often as well.

    He wasn’t the only player to have a poor game, however, as Adam Lallana struggled to make any impact going forward. The England international offered very little aside from a well timed run that was wrongly called offside. But given his record from one on ones it won’t have been too costly.

    Joe Allen had Liverpool’s best chance early on, but he could only hit a weak shot straight at the Villarreal goalkeeper. It is a wasted opportunity that will be rued.

    Philippe Coutinho was replaced at the break by Jordon Ibe as he was feeling unwell. And it was a strange decision from Klopp to put the young winger on rather than utilise Sturridge and look for a priceless away goal.

    Sturridge had to watch on from the sidelines as Christian Benteke was put on for Firmino with a few minutes remaining in another surprising decision from the Liverpool manager.

    The second leg at Anfield next week should hold little fear for Liverpool, but if Villarreal score an away goal it will mean the Reds require three.

    We like to do things the hard way.

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