Sports Desk, Apr 27 (EFE).- None of the magic Villarreal conjured against heavyweights Juventus and Bayern Munich to reach the semifinals of the Champions League was on display Wednesday at Anfield against Liverpool, who took a comfortable if not overwhelming 2-0 lead in the tie.
The Europa League holders got this far thanks to stout defending and Unai Emery’s men managed to hold the hosts scoreless in the first half and an offside call undid a goal by Fabinho in the 50th minute.
Three minutes later, however, Jordan Henderson’s cross deflected off Villarreal defender Pervis Estupiñan and past the outstretched hand of goalkeeper Gero Rulli to put the Reds up 1-0.
Sadio Mane, assisted by Mohamed Salah, beat Rulli with a low shot two minutes later to make it 2-0.
Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson saw a goal disallowed for offside in the 64th minute and Virgil van Dijk forced a stop from Rulli seconds before a Luis Diaz effort was deflected wide of the Villarreal net.
With only 26 percent possession, Villarreal failed to put a single shot on target, but the margin of defeat was not so big that supporters of the Yellow Submarine won’t spend the next week dreaming of another miracle when the teams meet in Spain for the second leg. EFE msg/dr