Liverpool cruised past Villarreal 3-0 at Anfield to secure a 3-1 aggregate semi-final triumph and secure a spot in the Europa League final.
The Reds lost the first leg 1-0 at the Madrigal, and presumably had their work cut out to advance to the final following Adrian Lopez’s late winner in Spain.
However, they started strongly on Merseyside—buoyed on by an emotional Anfield crowd and an exuberant Jurgen Klopp on the touchline—and opened the scoring in the seventh minute as Bruno put past his own goalkeeper.
Daniel Sturridge attempted—unsuccessfully—to claim the opening goal, but eventually got his name on the scoresheet when he finished past Alphonse Areola after a superb assist from Roberto Firmino.
Sturridge 2-0! pic.twitter.com/MlDpF2wSsV
— LFC Leo (@LFCLeo_) May 5, 2016
The England international’s strike gave Liverpool the advantage in the tie, but it was Adam Lallana who made sure of victory when he flicked past the French keeper with nine minutes left on the clock.
Sturridge—the game’s outstanding individual—was again responsible for Lallana’s effort with a fine assist, and the troubled forward will be desperate to demonstrate that his injury concerns are firmly behind him when the Reds contest the Europa League final in Basel later in the month.
Standing in Liverpool’s way are Sevilla, who reaffirmed their class with a stonking 5-3 aggregate triumph over Shakhtar Donetsk.