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Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp blasts costly error right at the death against Villarreal

Villarreal 1-0 Liverpool

By Robert Jones

Jurgen Klopp couldn't hide his disappointment after Liverpool conceded an injury-time goal in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final last night.

A fortnight after an added-time winner put Liverpool into the last four, a similar fate befell them as they lost 1-0 in Villarreal.

The match appeared to be heading for a stalemate until substitute Adrian Lopez poked home the late winner.

"Of course I'm not too happy with the goal we conceded in the last second," said Klopp.

"Counter attacking in the 92nd minute makes not much sense, but it is only the first leg.

"If we had enough players in around the box it was no problem, but they played this one chip ball over Kolo (Toure), I don't know where Alberto was in this moment, but that was the only big mistake we made in this game and they scored with it."

The late twist in this tale was less dramatic than Dejan Lovren's header against Borussia Dortmund two weeks previously - Klopp's side still have the home leg to come - but frustrating nonetheless as they had appeared to have ground out a draw.

Going to the El Madrigal, where the hosts have now won all seven Europa League ties this season and are unbeaten in the competition since September 17, was always going to be tough - but the Reds seemed to have done the hard work until a lapse in concentration cost them.

Defender Toure, added: "It was a great ball put in. We can do better defending that, but we look for positives now.

"There is another game, we had chances to score. We showed against Dortmund we can respond.

"We know we can do it, we just need to believe and play the same as against Dortmund."

Four of the last five teams to lose 1-0 away in the UEFA Cup or Europa League semi-final have progressed - the exception being Liverpool in 2010.

Despite throwing away a goalless draw, Liverpool know they still have to score to go through in 90 minutes at Anfield, but, equally, Villarreal know an away goal would mean the Reds then need at least three goals.

Meanwhile, Sevilla stayed on course for a third straight Europa League title by claiming a 2-2 draw against Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine in the first leg of their semi-final.

Unai Emery's side are looking to become the first to win a major European competition three years in a row since Bayern Munich 40 years ago.

The final will be in the Swiss city of Basel on May 18.

Meanwhile Liverpool have been ordered to pay Burnley £6.5m for striker Danny Ings - a new record for a fee ordered by a tribunal, with a further £1.5m in add-ons. It is understood they will also pay 20 per cent of any future profit should the club sell the player.

Ings allowed his contract to run down with the Clarets last season before moving to Anfield in the summer.

Liverpool offered £6m as Burnley were entitled to compensation, with Ings under 23 years old at the time.

That was rejected as the Clarets, after a reported £12m bid from Tottenham, valued the player in excess of £10m.

Belfast Telegraph

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