Liverpool secured an emphatic 3-0 win over Villarreal in the second leg of the Europa League semifinal tie on a noisy, electric and joyful night at Anfield, and qualify for the final in the process.
Jurgen Klopp named a strong starting XI, as Liverpool looked to overturn their 1-0 deficit from the first leg. With the atmosphere something to remember for a long time, Liverpool players displayed a terrific performance to secure their passage to the finals in any European competitions for the first time since 2007.
An own goal from Soriano gave Liverpool an early lead in the seventh minute. At first it appeared that it was Daniel Sturridge’s goal, but video replays showed it took the final touch of the Villarreal skipper.
Liverpool looked in total control of the game, and created a few good scoring opportunities but it remained at 1-0 at half time.
The Reds needed goals to progress, and Sturridge finished from close range in the 63rd minute picking up a beautifully weighted pass from Firmino, to put Liverpool ahead on aggregate.
A poor challenge on Adam Lallana saw Villarreal defender Victor Ruiz picking up his second yellow card of the night and a marching order with 20 minutes left to go, putting Liverpool in further control.
Lallana put this icing on the cake after toe-poking from close range to put the game beyond doubt. Klopp and the Liverpool players celebrated with the home fans in the end, encapsulating a magical night at Anfield.
Check out some of the best reactions from the Liverpool fans and journalists on Twitter:
Never mind Brexit – #LFC are staying in Europe.Beautifully negotiated.
— Jim Beglin (@jimbeglin) May 5, 2016
Look at the players. Look at Klopp. These are the matches we live for :”)
— Aakriti Mehrotra (@Aakriti1) May 5, 2016
Jurgen Klopp is god.
— Šai (@TheEngancheRole) May 5, 2016
Kolo Toure in a European final: that’s the real feel-good story of the year.
— Rory Smith (@RorySmithTimes) May 5, 2016
The Yellow Submarine sank without trace. Congratulations to Liverpool on reaching the final of the Europa League.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) May 5, 2016
Klopp stood in the centre-circle after the final whistle, punching the air as Anfield responded wildly. They love this charismatic man. #lfc
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) May 5, 2016
Only one winner in his battle with Klopp. Villarreal’s players looked petrified tonight. Completely rattled.
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) May 6, 2016