Adrian Lopez struck in stoppage time to leave earn Villarreal a crucial 1-0 victory over Liverpool in the semifinal of the Europa league at the Madrigal on Thursday.
Jurgen Klopp’s men got a taste of their own medicine having scored deep in added time to eliminate Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals as Denis Suarez drove into the box and unselfishly squared for Lopez to sweep home.
The Reds, yet to lose a game in Europe this season, carved out early chances with Joe Allen firing straight at keeper Sergio Asenjo from close range after five minutes while Roberto Firmino hit the post midway through the second half.
Villarreal, however, had chances of their own with Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet making fine saves to deny Tomas Pina and Cedric Bakambu, who also hit the post with a header, before the winner late on when Liverpool seemed to have weathered the yellow storm.
“It is only the first leg,” Klopp said. “It is 1-0 and they have to come to Anfield where we know how strong we are. We had our moments, we defended really good. This race is not over.”
In the other semifinal, holders Sevilla had their fingers briefly loosened from the trophy before grabbing a 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk that left them well-placed to progress.
Sevilla’s bid to become the first side to lift the trophy three years on the trot got off to a great start when they opened the scoring through Vitolo after six minutes.
Shakhtar produced a spirited response, though, with goals from Marlos and Taras Stepanenko to lead at halftime before Kevin Gameiro’s 82nd-minute penalty left the Spaniards as favourites to progress with two away goals.