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5.5. EUROPA LEAGUE BETTING PREVIEW

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20:05 LIVERPOOL - VILLAREAL

Liverpool got a cold shower in the first leg of this semi-final tie, as Villareal's Adriano scored the only goal of the game on the 92nd minute. That late counter-attack meant a significant 1-0 win for the Spaniards, who now have a big advantage going into the second leg. One away goal at Anfield could put the tie to bed for good.

The first leg was an exhausting tactical battle, which was reflected by the stats. Scoring chances came few and far between, as Villareal edged the shots on target 3-2. Both teams did manage to hit the woodwork, but all in all it was a defensively solid performance from both sides. This is unlikely to change in the second leg, as Liverpool really can't afford to concede if they want to have a good chance of progressing to the final. Meanwhile, Villareal will do all they can to keep a clean sheet so they can avoid 'Pool getting a similar boost as they did in the quarter-final tie against Dortmund.

Jürgen Klopp's men have shown some fine form in the Europa League, and the loss in the first leg was their first in the competition. However, they have gone three matches without a win in all competitions, so they're not exactly flying at the moment. For example, last weekend's 3-1 defeat at the hands of Swansea was an especially poor performance, despite the fact that Klopp rested many key players in the match. Another notable fact is that the Reds have kept a clean sheet only once in their last five games at Anfield. They need that clean sheet now more than ever.

Liverpool's Spanish opponents have gone 12 Europa League matches undefeated, from which nine have been victories. Their only loss in the competition came away to Rapid Vienna in the group stage. The Yellow Submarines have claimed two wins and a draw in their last three matches, while they also managed to keep a clean sheet in each of those fixtures. Villareal's defending is therefore in good shape, last seen in their impressive 0-2 victory away at Valencia.

The late goal in the first leg gave the Spaniards an excellent basis for their search of a place in the final. They've already claimed important away draws in the Europa League against Napoli and Leverkusen, so the Spanish side clearly doesn't suffer from travel sickness. On the other side of the equation, 'Pool did manage to beat Augsburg and Manchester United at Anfield without conceding, but they did surrender three away goals to Dortmund. However, that 4-3 comeback victory did show that Klopp's men do have what it takes when the going gets tough.

Liverpool's last five matches:

1.5.2016 Swansea - Liverpool 3-1

28.4.2016 Villareal - Liverpool 1-0 (Europa League)

23.4.2016 Liverpool - Newcastle 2-2

20.4.2016 Liverpool - Everton 4-0

17.4.2016 Bournemouth - Liverpool 1-2

Villareal's last five matches:

1.5.2016 Valencia - Villareal 0-2

28.4.2016 Villareal - Liverpool 1-0 (Europa League)

24.4.2016 Villareal - Real Sociedad 0-0

20.4.2016 Real Madrid - Villareal 3-0

17.4.2016 Vallecano - Villareal 2-1

BETTING TIPS:

Liverpool's final hopes will depend largely on their defence. As they've not been particularly competent in that area of the game in recent weeks, Villareal have a good chance of grabbing an away goal. If that happens, 'Pool would need three goals to progress. Therefore, it wouldn't be a surprise if the second leg's goal total grew significantly compared to the first leg. We recommend over-bets for tonight!

** Over 2.5 goals: 5/4 Betsafe

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