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Liverpool caught by a late Villarreal sucker punch in cauldron of noise

Villarreal 1-0 Liverpool

By Simon Hughes

Published 29/04/2016

Liverpool's German coach Jurgen Klopp waves at the end of the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 28, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's German coach Jurgen Klopp waves at the end of the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 28, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28: Alberto Moreno of Liverpool reacts after a missed chance during the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Liverpool's Spanish defender Alberto Moreno lies on the field during the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 28, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's midfielder Adam Lallana (L) vies with Villarreal's Ivorian defender Eric Bally (2nd L) during the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 28, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino (R) vies with Villarreal's defender Mario (C) during the UEFA Europa League semifinal first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 28, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Villarreal manager Marcelino Garcia Toral argue on the touchline during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final, First Leg match at Estadio El Madrigal, Villarreal. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 28, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Villarreal. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire
Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Lucas (L) vies with Villarreal's forward Roberto Soldado during the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 28, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28: Adam Lallana of Liverpool takes on Jaume (L) and Bruno of Villarreal (R) during the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Villarreal's Congolese forward Cedric Bakambu gestures during the UEFA Europa League semifinal first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 28, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / BIEL ALINOBIEL ALINO/AFP/Getty Images
Villarreal manager Marcelino Garcia Toral controls the ball on the touchline during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final, First Leg match at Estadio El Madrigal, Villarreal. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 28, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Villarreal. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire
VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28: Jordon Ibe of Liverpool controls the ball from Cedric Bakambu of Villarreal during the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Liverpool's Ivorian defender Kolo Toure (L) vies with Villarreal's forward Roberto Soldado during the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 28, 2016. AFP/Getty Images
Villarreal's defender Victor Ruiz (R) vies with Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino during the UEFA Europa League semifinal first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 28, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / BIEL ALINOBIEL ALINO/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Roberto Firmino (right) and Villarreal's Eric Bailly battle for the ball during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final, First Leg match at Estadio El Madrigal, Villarreal. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 28, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Villarreal. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire
Villarreal's forward Roberto Soldado (L) gestures after missing an attempt on goal during the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 28, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Welsh midfielder Joe Allen (L) vies with Villarreal's Spanish midfielder Bruno Soriano (R) during the UEFA Europa League semifinal first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 28, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / BIEL ALINOBIEL ALINO/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's midfielder Adam Lallana (C) vies with Villarreal's Spanish defender Victor Ruiz (R) and Villarreal's defender Denis Suarez (L) during the UEFA Europa League semifinal first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 28, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / BIEL ALINOBIEL ALINO/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Croatian defender Dejan Lovren (R) vies with Villarreal's Congolese forward Cedric Bakambu during the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 28, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28: Joe Allen of Liverpool stretches to challenge Jonathan dos Santos of Villarreal during the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28: Denis Suarez of Villarreal holds off Nathaniel Clyne of Liverpool during the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28: The Liverpool team line up prior to the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
The Villareal team coach arrives followed by a yellow submarine ahead of the UEFA Europa League Semi Final, First Leg match at Estadio El Madrigal, Villarreal. PA
VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28: Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool embraces Antonio Rukavina of Villarreal prior to the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28: Villarreal fans show their support prior to the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28: Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool and asistant manager Zeljko Buvac look on prior to the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final, First Leg match at Estadio El Madrigal, Villarreal. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 28, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Villarreal. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire
VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28: Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool looks on prior to the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final, First Leg match at Estadio El Madrigal, Villarreal. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 28, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Villarreal. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire
VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28: A general view inside the stadium as Liverpool players warm up prior to the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final, First Leg match at Estadio El Madrigal, Villarreal. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 28, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Villarreal. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire
VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28: Dejan Lovren of Liverpool (front) warms up with team mates prior to the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28: Villarreal fans look on prior to the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28: Nathaniel Clyne of Liverpool warms up with team mates prior to the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
The Villareal team coach arrives followed by a yellow submarine ahead of the UEFA Europa League Semi Final, First Leg match at Estadio El Madrigal, Villarreal. PA
VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28: Liverpool fans look on prior to the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
The Villareal team coach arrives ahead of the UEFA Europa League Semi Final, First Leg match at Estadio El Madrigal, Villarreal. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 28, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Villarreal. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire
A general view of Estadio El Madrigal before the UEFA Europa League Semi Final, First Leg match at Estadio El Madrigal, Villarreal. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 28, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Villarreal. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire
VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28: A general view inside the stadium prior to the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Liverpool players on the pitch before the UEFA Europa League Semi Final, First Leg match at Estadio El Madrigal, Villarreal. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 28, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Villarreal. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire
Liverpool's players run during a training session at the Madrigal Stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC. AFP/Getty Images
File photo dated 13-04-2016 of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who insists he does not need to tell his players the importance of their Europa League semi-final first leg in Villarreal as they have more than proved their hunger for the competition. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday April 28, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Liverpool. Photo credit should read Nick Potts/PA Wire.
Liverpool's forward Daniel Sturridege controls the ball during a training session at the Madrigal Stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Ivory coast defender Kolo Toure controls the ball during a training session at the Madrigal Stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Spanish defender Alberto Moreno kneels during a training session at the Madrigal Stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Ivory coast defender Kolo Toure runs during a training session at the Madrigal Stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's German coach Jurgen Klopp walks during a training session at the Madrigal Stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's players run during a training session at the Madrigal Stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's German coach Jurgen Klopp walks during a training session at the Madrigal Stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's players run during a training session at the Madrigal Stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's players run during a training session at the Madrigal Stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's German coach Jurgen Klopp (R) speaks to his players during a training session at the Madrigal Stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's German coach Jurgen Klopp (R) speaks to his players during a training session at the Madrigal Stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's German coach Jurgen Klopp (R) speaks to his players during a training session at the Madrigal Stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Slovakian defender Martin Skrtel controls the ball during a training session at the Madrigal Stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's German coach Jurgen Klopp a press conference at the El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's German coach Jurgen Klopp a press conference at the El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Spanish defender Alberto Moreno speaks during a press conference at the El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Villarreal's coach Marcelino Garcia Toral speaks during a press conference at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC. / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Spanish defender Alberto Moreno speaks during a press conference at the El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Villarreal's forward Roberto Soldado looks on during a press conference at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC. / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Spanish defender Alberto Moreno speaks during a press conference at the El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semifinals first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Villarreal's forward Roberto Soldado looks on during a training session at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC. / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Villarreal's defender Denis Suarez (2ndL) and Villarreal's forward Roberto Soldado (2ndR) warm up during a training session at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC. / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Villarreal's forward Roberto Soldado gestures during a training session at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC. / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Villarreal players warm up during a training session at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC. / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images
Villarreal's Congoleseforward Cedric Bakambu (L) plays a ball with Villarreal's midfielder Bruno Soriano during a training session at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on April 27, 2016 on the eve of the UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg football match Villarreal CF vs Liverpool FC. / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDANJOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images

The noise from the terraces of the Madrigal was enormous and sudden. It had seemed that Liverpool had executed another streetwise performance on foreign soil in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final clash with Villarreal. Yet in injury-time, the complexion shifted.

From a simple long pass, the pitch opened up for Denis Suarez. Simon Mignolet was exposed and Suarez was able to square for substitute Adrian to score.

Jurgen Klopp is not unbeaten in Europe this season any more and Liverpool will have to recover from the shock of defeat quickly if they are to reach the Europa League final in Basel.

There was a sense this did not require passion levels to be of the uncontrolled standard that saw off Borussia Dortmund two weeks ago. If a sensible and patient performance was necessary, it was certainly achieved, but for the closing seconds.

Since knocking out Dortmund, Klopp has lost Emre Can and Divock Origi to injury and Mamadou Sakho to suspension after he failed a drugs test. He's without captain Jordan Henderson too. When Philippe Coutinho did not reappear for the second-half here because of illness, the challenge became even greater.

Klopp's selection was conservative but imaginative and perhaps necessary too. Despite being in goalscoring form, Daniel Sturridge was named as a substitute and Joe Allen was nominated from the start.

Kolo Toure, meanwhile, was chosen ahead of Martin Skrtel in defence; Klopp clearly trusting that the Ivorian's experience was enough to deal with the speed and hustle of Cédric Bakambu.

Lucas was picked in Liverpool's deepest midfield role and that gave Toure protection. It took Marcelino, the Villarreal boss, half an hour to realise that it might be a good idea to occasionally switch the starting positions of Bakambu and Roberto Soldado.

And yet Toure was having a good game. Twice he sprung across his 18-yard box to intercept danger and twice he read the situation perfectly.

Coutinho and Roberto Firmino were struggling to get involved but the battle for control in midfield was being won. Villarreal were especially attack minded down the left and Liverpool's best opportunities consistently came from the space in behind.

From that path, Liverpool should have taken a lead when Nathaniel Clyne and Adam Lallana combined to serve an unmarked Allen near the penalty spot. Allen's subsequent effort, however, was poor.

Villarreal's best chance came when a hurried clearance from Lucas ended up with Simon Mignolet saving Tomas Pina's curling shot.

There was not much for Liverpool to be worried about. Coutinho's exit came as a blow and Villarreal sensed an opportunity from the start of the second-half, forcing a corner from which Bakambu headed against the post.

A number of Clyne's crosses were not meeting team-mates.

In Clyne's defence, Firmino, who struck a post on the hour mark, was intelligent in his movement between the halfway line and the 18 yard box but he did not seem to know where to be at the crucial moment.

If Liverpool really wanted to win, Sturridge would have been used. Instead, the England striker remained on the bench, with Christian Benteke sent on instead with a duty of holding possession.

In the final seconds, however, Liverpool could not hold on to what would have been a valuable draw.

VILLARREAL: Asenjo, Pérez Martínez, Bailly (Musacchio 76), Ruiz, Costa Jordá, Dos Santos (Castillejo Azuaga 72), Pina, Soriano Llido, Suárez, Soldado (Adrian 74), Bakambu. Goal: Adrian 90

Subs not used: García Sánchez, Areola, Trigueros Muñoz, Rukavina.

LIVERPOOL: Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Touré, Moreno, Milner, Lucas, Allen, Lallana, Firmino (Benteke 90), Coutinho (Ibe 45). Subs not used: Sturridge, Skrtel, Smith, Ward, Chirivella.

Rating: 7/10 Man of match: xxxxxx

Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia)

Villarreal 1

Liverpool 0

Belfast Telegraph

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