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Liverpool vs Villarreal: Champions League – LIVE!

Liverpool put one foot in their third Champions League final in five seasons after a 2-0 victory over the least-fancied team in the last four Villarreal.

An own goal from Pervis Estupinan and Sadio Mane’s 20th of the season in a three-minute second-half spell did the damage and the only criticism which could be levelled at Jurgen Klopp’s side was that they should have scored more.

European Cup semi-finals are not supposed to be easy but this was about as comfortable as it gets – arguably less trouble than the 5-2 first-leg victory over Roma at Anfield which set them on the way to a 2018 final defeat against Real Madrid.

Under Unai Emery the visitors had lost just one of 12 away games in Europe, in stoppage time at Old Trafford last September, and had beaten Juventus and Bayern Munich to reach their first Champions League semi-final since 2006.

Villarreal were perceived as presenting an easy option – by virtue of them not being Manchester City or Real Madrid – and Liverpool’s dominance from the off suggested that would play out with LaLiga’s seventh-placed team failing to register a shot on target in the game.

With Malik Ouzia at Anfield and kick-off at 8pm BST, follow all the action with Standard Sport’s LIVE blog below…

Live updates

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Liverpool player ratings

Thiago Alcantara 8

Almost scored another Champions League wonder goal when rattling the woodwork from range and was one step ahead in possession again.

Sadio Mane 7

Squandered best chance of first-half when heading wide, then saw strike deflected past post. Got his goal and looked furious to be withdrawn.

Mo Salah 7

Lively in first-half in trying to find a way through a barricade of yellow shirts and did just that when setting up Mane soon after the break.

Click here for the full player ratings

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Jordan Henderson’s post-match thoughts

Jordan Henderson was proud of how Liverpool kept their patience and avoided getting frustrated before taking control of the tie.

“They are a very organised team and we knew they would make it difficult,” Henderson told BT Sport.

“It was just important that we kept going and believe that we would eventually break them down. We did that with two good goals.

“First one was a bit lucky. Good build up but a bit lucky, in off the defender and keeper I think. But you need a bit of luck when a team plays with a low block. We got that and it lifted the crowd.

“Majority of the game, the counter-press was really good. It made it difficult for them.

“But the game is still alive and it will be tough in Villarreal.”

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Not the most ambitious of performances…

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How Mane doubled the lead…

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FT: Liverpool 2-0 Villarreal

Easy night’s work for Liverpool.

Villarreal kept them at bay for 45 minutes, but it always felt like the goal was coming.

Two came in as many minutes and they are on the verge of a third Champions League final under Klopp.

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90+2 mins: Just the two minutes added on at Anfield.

It’s been an absolute cruise for Liverpool.

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89 mins: Outrageously good from Lo Celso, turns away from three Liverpool players and then pokes it past Fabinho.

He thinks he’s away in midfield, but Fabinho gets back to slide in and poke the ball away. Lo Celso wants a free-kick… Lo Celso doesn’t get a free-kick.

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87 mins: Alisson has something to do!

Dia in behind, goes for an ambitious effort. Just about reaches the Brazilian and he topples onto the ball.

He could have watched it roll past him into the back of the net though, the offside flag is up.

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84 mins: Konate mops up the loose ball, turns and then draws a foul for his side.

He hasn’t tasted defeat in a Liverpool shirt yet – it’s not about to happen tonight either.

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81 mins: Ball drops for Fabinho just inside the box, his shot is blocked almost immediately. Good defending from Albiol.

Klopp turns to his bench again. Alexander-Arnold and Diaz the two to be replaced, with Gomez and Origi on.

Home fans very happy to see Origi again.

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