Europa League draw: Liverpool to face Villarreal
Fresh off a miracle comeback against Dortmund on Thursday, Liverpool will consider themselves lucky to have avoided Europa League holders Sevilla in the semifinal. Instead, they have to contend with a very strong side in Villarreal, who are fourth in La Liga, have beaten both Madrid sides and drawn with Barcelona at home in the league, and have already knocked out Napoli and Bayer Leverkusen in Europe.
And while the win against Dortmund highlighted Liverpool's staying power and the impact of playing the second leg in front of the home crowd - something Liverpool will do again in the semifinal - there will be apprehension against a side that is likely to outplay Liverpool in the first leg.
As against Dortmund, Liverpool will do well to come away from the Madrigal with a draw or better. And with nothing else to play for this season, Liverpool can afford to rest players and focus fully on Europe. Villarreal, 12 points behind Madrid in third place and eight points ahead of Celta Vigo in fifth, can also afford to focus fully on Europe.
The tie sees holders and back-to-back winners Sevilla face off against Shakhtar Donetsk - Sevilla will be happy to have got the easiest possible tie even if Donetsk is a very good side. Will Sevilla's experience help them in Europe? Currently seventh in the league, Sevilla know that winning the Europa League is the only route into Europe for them.
Europa League semifinal schedule
First Leg (April 28)
Shakhtar Donetsk v Sevilla
Villarreal v Liverpool
Second Leg (May 5)
Sevilla v Shakhtar Donetsk
Liverpool v Villareal
The Europa League final will be played at Basel, Switzerland on May 18.