It was as if Liverpool were helped by Dewi Fortuna when they beat Villarreal in the first leg of the Champions League semifinal at Anfield, Thursday (28/4/2022).
This was revealed by the Liverpool captain , Jordan Henderson, after seeing how the Reds struggled against Villarreal who played defensively so deep.
Facing Villarreal is not an easy matter. The solid defensive game implemented by Unai Emery’s team allowed them to advance to the semifinals of the Champions League. Even Villarreal managed to get rid of Juventus and Bayern Munich.
The Reds could be the next victim. Villarreal also know how difficult it is to win at Anfield, and that makes them use a defensive strategy.
Villarreal were so total in applying defensive play and only fired one shot in this match. Unfortunately, they still conceded two goals from Sadio Mane and an own goal from Pervis Estupinan which gave Liverpool a 2-0 win in the first leg of the Champions League semifinal.
Luck blew for Liverpool in the second half. Previously, the Reds struggled to score because of the tight defense built by Villarreal, so the first half ended in a goalless draw.
Right in the 53rd minute, Jordan Henderson sent a cross into the Villarreal penalty box. The ball hits Estupinan’s feet and turns into the goal. After that, the Villarreal defense became more often left gaps.
The first goal was shrouded in the scent of luck. It could be, if the first goal is not created, the match ends with the score 0-0. For Henderson, luck is needed in a match like this.
“The first goal was a little bit lucky. The process of building a good attack, but a bit of luck. Regarding defenders and goalkeepers I think. You need a little luck when facing teams that play defensively,” said Henderson
Not yet over
Luck makes Liverpool supporters who packed Anfield so excited again. The support from his loyal fans then became the reason why the Reds were able to produce another goal two minutes later.
Throughout the game, the counter-press was very good. It made it difficult for them. But, this duel is not over and it will be tough at Villarreal,” said Henderson again.
Dismantling the Villarreal defense is not an easy matter, but Liverpool have realized it for a long time. They have not lost faith and believe that the goals will come if the good play continues.
“They are very organized and we know it will be difficult. It is important for us to keep going and believe that in the end this will bring them down. We did it with two good goals,” he concluded.