Liverpool fight back to reach Champions League final with win over Villarreal
Jurgen Klopp said reaching a third Champions League final in five years with Liverpool felt just as special as the first after his team saw off a spirited fightback from Villarreal on Tuesday to keep their quadruple hopes alive.
Liverpool survived a first-half scare to reach the Champions League final with a 3-2 win at Villarreal on Tuesday (May 3) that secured a 5-2 aggregate victory after the night had threatened to turn sour for Juergen Klopp's side.
The visitors fell 2-0 down with an insipid first-half performance before fighting back with three goals in a 12-minute spell after the break to advance to their third European Cup final in five seasons.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said reaching the Paris final felt as the first one as they had a tough tie against Villarreal.
"They put us under pressure, everything was 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 and it was massive, massive from the boys," the German said.
Villarreal manager was proud of his team and fans but said the effort was "not enough" againt "favourites" of Liverpool.
The Premier League side had won 2-0 in England but looked in danger of coming unstuck on a rain-soaked pitch in Spain, as the hosts pegged them back with goals from Boulaye Dia and Francis Coquelin.
Liverpool, however, came out transformed after halftime and goals from Fabinho, Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane sealed the deal, with Villarreal ending the match with 10 men following a late red card for Etienne Capoue.
Klopp's side will meet either Real Madrid or Manchester City, who contest the second leg of their semi-final on Wednesday, in the showpiece in Paris on May 28. City lead 4-3 from the first leg.