The key talking points from Liverpool's 3-2 victory over Villarreal

The key talking points from Liverpool's 3-2 victory over Villarreal

Liverpool came from behind to defeat Villarreal 3-2 at the Estadio de la Ceramica last night (Champions League semi-final, second leg).

The Reds got off to the worst possible start. Boulaye Dia gave the La Liga side the lead after three minutes of action.

Just before half-time, Francis Coquelin doubled Villarreal's advantage. However, Liverpool flexed their muscles after the break.

Second-half goals from Fabinho, Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane secured the Reds' place in the 2022 Champions League final (5-2 victory on aggregate).

The first-half is the worst we have seen from Liverpool this season

Liverpool were dreadful in the opening 45 minutes. They could not get going.

The Reds were sloppy with possession and struggled to match Villarreal's intensity.

In saying that, you do have to give the La Liga side plenty of credit. They battered one of the best team's in world football for an entire half.

Diaz showed his worth again

Diaz did not start against Villarreal. But, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp brought the winger into the game straight after half-time.

Diaz's energy and quality was on show for 45 minutes. The Colombia international also found the back of the net against Villarreal.

Klopp was full of praise for Diaz after the clash.

As quoted by the club's official website, the German said the following in his post-match press conference: "First-half all of a sudden we were not ourselves but second-half we were ourselves and that’s why we won the game.

"Yes of course, Luis, what a goal and he had a few more situations. I think the first one (opportunity) he takes with a bicycle kick, if he takes that on the chest he can score already. So yeah, top performance."

Naby Keita's mixed match

Keita was well off the pace in the opening 45 minutes. The midfielder was probably Liverpool's worst player. He looked in a rush and continuously gave the ball away.

But, after half-time, Keita was a different player. The Guinea international used the ball well and was positive in his play.

Keita ended up registering an assist and a WhoScored player rating of 7.76 for his performance against Villarreal.

Liverpool's third Champions League final under Klopp

Liverpool will play in their third Champions League final under Klopp. That is a serious achievement.

Klopp's Reds lost the first final they played in. Real Madrid defeated Liverpool 3-1 in Kiev.

However, the second final was a much happier occasion for the German and his side. Liverpool defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in Madrid.

The third final will be played against either Real Madrid or Manchester City in Paris. We will know who the opponent will be after tonight.

Klopp said the following during his post-game press conference when asked about taking Liverpool to a third Champions League final.

"Outstanding, massive, it feels like it’s the first, to be honest, because it is always so special," the 54-year-old said, as quoted by LiverpoolFC.com.

"It is, for me, the best club competition in the world. I love it, love the sound, everything, love the nights.

"Respect to Villarreal, this really wonderful stadium, what the people are doing here is incredible, what Unai (Emery) is doing is incredible, how the players put us under pressure, everything is great.

"So it feels so special because it was so difficult for us, but in the end we deserved it as well and that’s really cool. It was massive, massive from the boys."

A look ahead

Liverpool will face Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield in the Premier League this Saturday night. With four top-flight fixtures to go, league leaders Manchester City possess a one-point lead over the Reds in the table.

So, there is no denying that this weekend's game is huge for Liverpool. Manchester City on the other hand will welcome Newcastle United to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

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