Villarreal’s superb home record in this season’s UEFA Europa League will give them hope against Liverpool, whose coach Jürgen Klopp has yet to win a UEFA game in Spain.
Villarreal CF’s mighty home record in this season’s UEFA Europa League will be a major comfort as they come up against Liverpool FC in the semi-finals, with visiting coach Jürgen Klopp yet to win a UEFA game in Spain.
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA club competition, though they did play a pre-season friendly in 2008, drawing 0-0 at El Madrigal.
- Villarreal’s record in 13 UEFA games against English sides is W3 D6 L4 (W2 D4 L1 at home – W1 D2 L3 in England). They are without a victory in their last ten meetings with Premier League opponents having won all the first three.
- Liverpool’s 32 UEFA games against Spanish sides have ended W13 D10 L9 (W4 D6 L5 at Anfield – W7 D4 L4 in Spain). Those games include two final victories on neutral territory: 1-0 against Real Madrid CF in the 1981 European Champion Clubs’ Cup final and 5-4 (after extra time) against Deportivo Alavés in the 2001 UEFA Cup final.
• Villarreal are now unbeaten in 11 UEFA Europa League fixtures (W8 D3), and have won all six of their home games in this season’s competition, conceding only once in the process.
- Liverpool are the only club to make it from the start of the group stage to matchday 12 unbeaten, with five victories and seven draws – more than any other side in the 2015/16 tournament. Their away record this season is W1 D5.
- The Reds are the first team to have gone 12 games unbeaten in a single UEFA Europa League campaign, group stage to final, though Club Atlético de Madrid went 15 matches without defeat across two editions of the UEFA Europa League from November 2011 to October 2012. Villarreal will match their record if they beat Liverpool at El Madrigal.
- Villarreal’s best previous campaigns in the competition ended in the semi-finals, where they were twice eliminated by eventual winners – Valencia CF in 2003/04 and FC Porto in 2010/11.
- Liverpool lost to Beşiktaş JK on penalties in last year’s round of 32 and to FC Zenit at the same stage of their previous UEFA Europa League adventure, in 2012/13. The 1973, 1976 and 2001 UEFA Cup winners last got to the semi-finals in 2009/10, losing to Club Atlético de Madrid.
Links and trivia
• The journey from Liverpool to Villarreal is just shy of 950km.
- With four goals in his last two games, Villarreal’s Cédric Bakambu has moved on to nine for the season, leaving him second in the UEFA Europa League scoring charts behind Athletic Club’s ten-goal Aritz Aduriz.
- Villarreal defender Víctor Ruiz and Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet are the only players left in the competition who have played in every minute of their sides’ campaigns since the start of the group stage: 1,080 minutes in total.
- Villarreal’s Samuel Castillejo remains the most fouled player in the 2015/16 competition, with 34 infringements against him from the group stage onwards.
- Villarreal’s Denis Suárez has laid on five goals in this season’s competition, putting him top of the assists rankings along with Bořek Dočkal from eliminated AC Sparta Praha. Suárez was an unused substitute for Sevilla FC as they beat FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in last season’s UEFA Europa League final.
- Liverpool’s José Enrique – who is not in their UEFA Europa League squad – played for Villarreal from 2006–07.
- Fellow Spaniard Alberto Moreno is registered to play in this competition; he played against Villarreal once during his time as a Sevilla player, a 0-0 home draw in May 2014.
- Villarreal’s Antonio Rukavina played under Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund in 2008.
- Roberto Soldado faced Liverpool three times during his time in England with Tottenham Hotspur FC. His side lost 5-0 at home and 4-0 away to the Reds in 2013/14, but he featured again as his side won 3-2 at home against Liverpool the following season.
- Villarreal right-back Mario Gaspar scored a terrific goal as Spain won 2-0 in a November 2015 friendly game against England, who featured Liverpool’s Adam Lallana. Reds team-mate Nathaniel Clyne was an unused substitute in that game in Alicante.
- Villarreal are now not just the UEFA Europa League’s highest-scoring club, increasing their total to 82 with a 4-2 win at Sparta Praha, but have also registered the most victories in the competition – 26, one more than Benfica and Sevilla.
- Of the semi-finalists, Villarreal are the only side who have never won this competition; Liverpool (1973, 1976 and 2001), Sevilla FC (2006, 2007, 2014, 2015) and FC Shakhtar Donestk (2009) have eight wins between them.
• Marcelino’s career as a midfielder was curtailed early by injury. As a coach, the 50-year-old worked his way up the Spanish leagues, culminating in spells with Real Zaragoza, Real Racing Club Santander and Sevilla. He took over at Villarreal in 2013, guiding them to promotion in his first campaign.
- Jürgen Klopp, 48, replaced Brendan Rodgers as Liverpool manager last October. His Dortmund side won the Bundesliga in 2010/11, scooped a double the next campaign and lost to FC Bayern München in the 2013 UEFA Champions League final.
- Klopp has yet to win in five UEFA games in Spain (D3 L2). His record in 11 games against Spanish sides (with 1. FSV Mainz 05 and Dortmund) is W4 D3 L4. His sides have won their last four home games against Liga teams.