Liverpool vs Villarreal: UEFA Champions League Match Preview And Betting Prediction
While the other semifinal pits two European heavyweights against each other, tomorrow’s game will see a favorite face off against an underdog, as Liverpool host Villarreal at Anfield.
Villarreal have been the surprise story of this year’s UEFA Champions League. The Yellow Submarine shocked and sunk first, Juventus, and then, Bayern Munich in quick succession. Liverpool will have to be careful if they do not want to end up as another scalp on the belt of their Spanish visitors.
The Merseyside giants have been in imperious form since the turn of the year. They can still win an unprecedented quadruple this season and with the squad of world-class professionals they have, will be aiming to do just that.
Read on for our UEFA Champions League semifinal preview and betting prediction below!
Liverpool vs Villarreal H2H
The two sides have faced each other twice with an even H2H record; One Liverpool win and one Villarreal win.
The home side’s 79 points from 33 games has them currently 2nd in the English Premier League, hot on the heels of Manchester City, who are just a point ahead.
With 52 points from 33 games, Villarreal are 7th on the La Liga ranking, 9 points behind 4th-placed Atletico Madrid with 5 games to play. Their best chance of playing UCL football next season is by getting an unlikely win here and in the final.
Liverpool have been in good form over their last five games with three wins and two draws. (Form: W-W-W-D-D). Their visitors have an identical record with only the order of wins and draws differing. (Form: W-W-D-D-W)
Liverpool vs Villarreal Team News
The Liverpool squad has hit full fitness at the right time to sustain their three-pronged challenge. They’ll be without Robert Firminho (Foot injury) and his 5 UCL goals this season for at least the first leg. Due to the elite attacking options they have, Liverpool fans won’t be worried about his absence.
Expected Liverpool lineup: Alisson, Trent-Alexander Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil Van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara, Jordan Henderson, Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota, Sadio Mane. (4-3-3)
To make an already difficult task even harder, Villarreal will have to do without the services of centre forward, Gerard Moreno (Hamstring injury). The Spanish striker has scored 13 goals in all competitions this season and was expected to be one of their main threats against Liverpool.
Former Liverpool left-back, Alberto Moreno (Hamstring injury) is also out and will miss out on a chance to face his former side at Anfield.
Expected Villarreal lineup: Gerónimo Rulli, Pervis Estupinan, Pau Torres, Raul Albiol, Juan Foyth, Giovani Lo Celso, Etienne Capoue, Dani Parejo, Francis Coquelin, Samuel Chukwueze, Arnaut Danjuma. (4-4-2)
- Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 10 games, scoring 24 goals over that period while Villarreal have not lost in their last 5 games but have only scored 7 goals.
- Liverpool have been the second most-dominant team in the EPL this season with 526.4 accurate passes/game while Villarreal are rated fourth in the La Liga with 426.4 accurate passes/game. In the Champions League, Liverpool are 5th with 542.8 passes/game while Villarreal are 19th with 338.8 passes/game.
- Liverpool top goalscorer, Mohamed Salah has scored 8 goals in 10 games (739 total minutes) from an xG of 7.3. Villarreal forward, Arnaut Danjuma has scored 6 goals in 10 games (820 minutes) from an xG of 5.1.
- Both teams have an identical defensive record in the ’21-22 Champions League with 11 goals conceded (1.1 goals/game).
- Villarreal are not as disciplined as Liverpool. The Spanish side have accumulated 18 yellow cards and 1 red card this UCL season, compared to Liverpool who have 12 yellow cards and no red cards.
- Liverpool dominated possession in all three of their last games while Villarreal dominated possession in 2 of their last 3 games. The only game they did not dominate possession in was against Bayern Munich, a team comparable to Liverpool.
- Number of corner kicks in Liverpool’s last three games: 14, 11, 18. Number of corner kicks in Villarreal’s last three games: 5, 12, 6.
- Villarreal have not won any of their last eight away games on English soil in all competitions (D3, L5)
Liverpool vs Villarreal Prediction
It’s a safe bet to assume that Villarreal will spend most of the game defending and we’re likely to see many corner kicks given up as a result of Liverpool’s expected dominance. Over 6.5 corners for the home team @ 1.88 looks to be great value for money especially as Over 7.5 corners for both teams has odds of 1.33 and the last time Villarreal faced a team like Liverpool (Bayern Munich), they conceded 6 corners and had none.
As the home team and one of the favorites to win the UEFA Champions League, the experts are backing a Liverpool home win @ 1.34.
Sadio Mane has been on fire since he inspired Senegal to AFCON victory and then secured World Cup qualification, both at the expense of Mohamed Salah’s Egypt. The Senegalese forward has been Liverpool’s main source of goals since Salah’s scoring touch deserted him. Salah got back on the scoresheet against Manchester United with a brace and is a good bet to score against Villarreal. Our King’s combo of Salah and Mane both to score @ 4.10 (boosted from 3.75) might end up being great value for money for you!
*DISCLAIMER: Odds are subject to change.