By Dan Judd
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side travel to El Madrigal tonight to face Villarreal, looking to land their first European final spot since 2007.
Striker Christian Benteke makes a surprising return to the squad hoping to provide more attacking options after the in-form Divock Origi was stretchered off against Everton in last Wednesday’s Merseyside derby.
“It is the best news Christian is back,” said the Reds boss on the matter, “we only have players ready to play a part tomorrow. There are no tourists. We are ready for the moment.”
Despite the enigmatic boss’ praise for the Belgian striker the club have been struck by injury woes throughout the season. With stars such as Emre Can, Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson and Danny Ings all expected to miss out.
Centre-back Mamadou Sakho is the newest addition to the list of unavailable players and will miss the remainder of the season after not challenging the result of his failed drugs test.
As for Villarreal, head coach Marcelino Garcia Toral has very little to worry about by way of his selection with only Leo Baptistao missing. Jaume Costa and centre-back Mateo Mussachio passed late fitness tests and will be both be an inclusion in Marcelino’s squad.
Former Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado is also expected to make an appearance for the La Liga side.
Villerreal were semi-finalists in this competition last season and have performed above expectations in the Spanish league gaining a respectable fourth place position. The Europa League has seen the Spanish side display impeccable home form thoughout, winning every game at El Madrigal and conceding just one goal.
The Yellow Submarine or El Submarino Amarillo as they are known in Spain have failed to win their last three league games though and will be hoping to change that tonight against a confident Liverpool side.
The Reds look to have adapted to Jurgen Klopp’s style evident in a dramatic victory over German giants Dortmund in the previous round.