Liverpool to face Sevilla in Europa League final
The stakes will be high at St-Jakob Park in Basel later this month, as both teams have finished outside of their domestic top fours, so the winner will qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Liverpool had a difficult task against Villarreal after losing the first leg 1-0 at El Madrigal, but a dominant showing saw them win 3-0 at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp sent his team out guns blazing, and they were up one within ten minutes as Bruno Soriano scored an own goal.
Daniel Sturridge rewarded his manager’s faith in him by putting the Merseysiders into the lead on the one-hour mark, while Villarreal’s hopes of a comeback were dashed when visiting defender Victor Ruiz was sent off.
Adam Lallana scored from close range in the 81st minute to send the home fans into rapture and ensure Liverpool progressed to the final.
It gives Klopp the chance to win the silver cup in his first season leading the English club.
Liverpool will face the reigning champions Sevilla, after the Spaniards made short work of Shakhtar, winning the second leg 3-1 to record a 5-3 aggregate victory.
The fate of both teams was on a knife edge following the 2-2 draw in Ukraine, but Unai Emery’s crew wasted little time in taking the lead at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan, as Kevin Gameiro scored after only nine minutes.
Skakhtar forward Eduardo evened the score for the visitors just before halftime, but Sevilla put in a dominant performance in the second half.
Goals from Gameiro and right-back Mariano ensured victory for the La Liga team, victors of the Europa League for the last two years in a row.
Liverpool has a proud record in European competitions and will hope to add another continental crown, while Sevilla can go down in history as the first team to win the second-tier tournament on three consecutive occasions.