The first leg of Liverpool’s Europa League semi-final with Villarreal gets underway this evening and if the Reds are to make the showpiece, they’re sure to require another dose of second-leg comeback heroics.
Given their imperiousness at home, especially in this competition, El Submarino Amarillo quite rightly assume favouritism for this one and at 6/4 are very much worth a wager.
Jurgen Klopp’s men, who have a second-half quarter-final flurry against Borussia Dortmund to thank for their last-four berth, can be backed at 2/1 in the match-betting market, but it’s a price that’ll prove way too short come the final whistle.
For the home win to nil is the only way to bet here, with a beefy 11/4 up for grabs for the form-studying punters out there.
Marcelino’s troops may be winless in three and without a goal in two, but with fourth-place in La Liga almost sewn-up, it’s possible their focus has been on establishing a first-leg lead in their Europa League semi-final.
Should the course of the game adhere to trends established throughout the tournament so far, Villarreal will do just that, and in flawless fashion to boot.
They’ve won each of their six home matches in the continent’s consolation competition, shipping one goal in the process, which came against Sparta Prague in the previous round.
In the knockout stages, they’ve seen off both Bayer Leverkusen and Napoli on the homestead, conceding a combined one goal home and away against the respective German and Italian powerhouses.
Examining their excursions across all competitions, only four of the previous 12 visitors to the Madrigal have managed to rustle the hosts’ net and just five avoided defeat.
It’s a stellar streak of form that contrasts greatly to what Liverpool have mustered on their travels, particularly in Europe.
Rubin Kazan are the only adversary they’ve vanquished beyond the confines of Anfield this campaign. They failed to score at Sion and Augsburg, while one goal was all they could muster in their aforementioned Kazan conquest, the same number they notched at Dortmund, Manchester United and Bordeaux.
These final third travails suggest they’re going to struggle in Spain, against unforgiving entertainers Villarreal.