With a dominant victory against Villarreal at Anfield, Liverpool took a major step towards another Champions League final.
To break down a Villarreal team tightly organized by European specialist Unai Emery, Jurgen Klopp’s quadruple-chasing Reds had to show patience.
Despite having all the opportunities, Liverpool were held at bay and required a little of luck to break the deadlock after 53 minutes when Jordan Henderson’s cross was deflected beyond Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli by Pervis Estupinan.
Two minutes later, Sadio Mane enhanced Liverpool’s grip by touching Mohamed Salah’s ball beyond Rulli.
The second leg is still scheduled for next Tuesday in Villarreal, but Liverpool now appear to be on track to face either Manchester City or Real Madrid in the final in Paris in May.