Europa League

Liverpool v Villarreal: Marcelino wants to turn Anfield atmosphere in Villarreal´s favour

Villarreal coach Marcelino is hoping to turn the Anfield atmosphere into his side’s favour as the Spanish outfit prepare to face Liverpool in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final on Thursday.

Marcelino and Co. hold a 1-0 advantage going into the return leg in England after Adrian Lopez scored a stoppage-time goal at El Madrigal last week.

Liverpool and their supporters are renowned for their unique atmosphere on European nights, but Marcelino insists it will have a positive rather than negative effect on his players.

“It’s a real pleasure to be able to play here and something that will be a really nice occasion for us,” the 60-year-old said.

“But in no way whatsoever will we be affected by the atmosphere in any adverse manner at all. If anything, we will be affected in a positive way.

“We will be galvanised by the atmosphere and I think it will drive us on to perform better ourselves, once we experience it. We have that feeling we can get through to the final.”

Striker Leo Baptistao is back in training following a muscular problem and has been named in the Villarreal squad, alongside Bailly.

Klopp has a lengthy absentee list to cope with – Mamadou Sakho has been suspended by UEFA after failing a blood test, while long-term knee injury victims Jordan Henderson, Joe Gomez and Danny Ings have been joined on the sidelines by Divock Origi and Emre Can (both ankle).


Key Opta stats

– Sides holding a 1-0 home advantage after the first leg of Europa League knockout ties have progressed 59 per cent of the time since the 2009-10 season (16 out of 27).
– Liverpool have succeeded in three of their previous five semi-finals in European competitions after losing the first leg away from home.
– The Anfield club have won their past seven home second-leg ties, conceding only once in the process.
– Villarreal have only failed to score once in their last 32 Europa League matches, while Liverpool have left four of their past five encounters with Spanish sides scoreless.

– Only Athletic Bilbao’s Aritz Aduriz (10) has more Europa League goals this season than the nine provided by Villarreal’s Cedric Bakambu.

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