A game of two halves was played in Estadio de la Ceramica.
They say football is a game of two halves and it was exactly the case in the Champions League game that was played last night between Villarreal and Liverpool. The game was a clear definition of 'they had us in the first half'. By us, you already know what I mean.
Unai Emery promised to make Liverpool suffer and he delivered on his promise. They started the first half with high intensity and high pressing. Immediately the first whistle was blown, Villarreal kept a high line and were constantly knocking on the door.
This side of Villarreal we saw at the beginning of the game didn't surprise me in any way. I already highlighted my expectation in the pre-game analysis so I wasn't surprised when I saw Villarreal being more attacking minded. The attempt they made to win the second ball and switch-up plays from both wings was adorable. It made me uncomfortable as a Liverpool fan, but I can't take anything away from their sheer display of brilliance.
Their effort was enough to give them the early goal in that fixture. The first goal came from Boulaye Dia in the 3rd minute of the game. In situations like this, the first team to score will always have an impact on the way the game will play out. The same thing happened as Villarreal scored the first goal. Liverpool ended up making so many errors in the whole 45 minutes of the first half.
Liverpool's performance in the first half was bizarre. We bottled our advantage after conceding another goal 41 minutes into the game. I was begging for the first half to see its end so that Jurgen will do his magic in the dressing room.
The second half of the half
After seeing what happened in yesterday's game, the second half of the game is what I would like to call Liverpool's half of the game. 'Twas literally as if there was a sort of consensus for Villarreal to show what they are made of in the first half of the game while the second half was for Liverpool to do their thingy.
The second half started immediately with a substitution which saw Diogo Jota being replaced by Luis Diaz. That was exactly what we needed because of Diaz's expertise in taking on defenders and opening up spaces at the backline of the opponents.
The lad did exactly what was expected of him. Liverpool got back into the game and were able to start and complete a comeback after scoring 3 goals between the 62nd to 74th minute of the game. The goals came from Fabinho, Diaz and Mane, respectively. The rest of the second half played out exactly how Liverpool scripted it. It was a joy to watch.
By the end of the game, Liverpool secured an aggregate of five goals compared to the two scored by Villarreal. This means we are going to the finals in Paris. Another Champions League final for the third time in five years. Haha. Seriously, what are we witnessing here? We are making history!
3 notable talking points from the game.
Villarreal fans are adorable
Villarreal is a city with a 50,000 population, give or take a few. 25,000 people out of the 50,000 in the city turned up to watch the game at the stadium. If you are a thief, there is no better time to target that city. Haha.
These guys did their club proud and they were actively supporting their team even when they were already outplayed. I also like the harmony and the show of respect they displayed towards Liverpool players and fans alike. It was a joy to witness this.
Liverpool has already experienced how it feels to turn up to the big stage with a half-baked goalkeeper. The experience we had with Loris Karius is still fresh in our minds.
During the game that was played yesterday, Villarreal happened to be on the receiving end of multiple goalkeeping errors. The first and third goals scored by Liverpool could have been saved if a better shot-stopper was in-between the sticks for Villarreal.
He got the man of the match (MOTM) in this game despite playing in only the second half. His instant impact immediately he entered the field of play is exactly what you would expect from a super sub. The young lad has been exceptional since he joined Liverpool in January's transfer window.
This is where Liverpool's tale ends for today. After the game that will be played tonight between Real Madrid and Manchester City, we will know who we will be facing in the final game of the premier league.
Will it be Real Madrid or Man City?
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