The UEFA Champions League is back in action with a crucial semi-final fixture this week as Liverpool take on Villarreal on Wednesday.

Liverpool are now second in the Premier League rankings and have been outstanding so far in the season. The Merseyside giants defeated city rivals Everton 2-0 on the weekend and will be confident going into this encounter. The Reds overcame a difficult test at Everton thanks to goals from Andy Robertson and Divock Origi. Liverpool advanced to the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds after winning Group B with an unbeaten record. The Reds then defeated Inter Milan in the Round-of-16 before defeating Benfica to reach the semi-finals.

UEFA Champions League Preview: Liverpool vs Villarreal

Liverpool have the second-most shots on target and have been very lethal in the final third recently. They have scored 25 goals in the Champions League so far, averaging 2.5 goals per 90 minutes.

UEFA Champions League Preview: Liverpool vs Villarreal

Trent Alexander-Arnold has been Liverpool’s highest threat creator from open play as the right-back plays great balls into the penalty area from the right flank. The threat zones visual shows us that Liverpool are highly threatening from the right flank. Kostas Tsimikas has generated a high xT from the corners he has taken for Liverpool.

Liverpool’s squad remains in tremendous shape ahead of the first leg, with Roberto Firmino the only doubt for the home side after his foot injury kept him out of the Merseyside derby.

Villarreal, on the other hand, are in seventh place in the LaLiga standings and have not been at their best this season in their domestic league. The Yellow Submarines eased past Valencia by a 2-0 margin in their previous game and will look to achieve a similar result in this fixture. Arnaut Danjuma scored both goals to secure all three points. Villarreal moved past the group stage by finishing second in Group F, before beating Juventus and Bayern Munich to book the date with Liverpool.

UEFA Champions League Preview: Liverpool vs Villarreal

Villarreal have attempted the second-most counterattacks in the tournament and are very dangerous on the break. Liverpool will have to be wary of these counterattacks while they are attacking the opposition’s goal.

UEFA Champions League Preview: Liverpool vs Villarreal

Villarreal have high xT creation zones on both sides of the pitch and have been more threatening from the left flank. Daniel Parejo has generated the highest overall xT from open play, while it is Gerard Moreno who has the most assists for the Spanish side.

Meanwhile, former Liverpool left-back, Alberto Moreno, will not be reuniting with his former club this week as he is still recovering from a ruptured cruciate ligament, while star attacker Gerard Moreno is also set to miss out.

Villarreal have produced some major upsets this season as they have knocked out Juventus and Bayern Munich, and have definitely shown what they are capable of. Liverpool are in great form and will try to steer away from an upset here.

Liverpool predicted starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Mane, Diaz.

Villarreal predicted starting lineup:
Rulli; Foyth, Albiol, Torres, Estupinan; Parejo, Coquelin, Capoue; Lo Celso; Chukwueze, Danjuma.

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