LIVERPOOL face an uphill task to qualify for the Europa League final as a stoppage time goal from substitute Adrian Lopez gave Villarreal a 1-0 victory at El Madrigal on Thursday April 28.
The Reds will be disappointed at the concession, having defended resolutely until that point, but a somewhat patched-up side will head back to Anfield with the belief that they can turn things round in the return fixture.
The Yellow Submarines replaced their traditional pre-match anthem with the Beatles’ classic, and fans unfurled a banner honouring the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster, and Pool looked on course to secure a well-earned draw until their hard work was undone by a superb counter attack.
Adam Lallana lost the ball with Liverpool on the attack, and the Spanish team broke through their impressive captain, Bruno Soriano.
He clipped the ball over a back-pedalling Kolo Toure to winger Dennis Suarez, who raced away before squaring to the grateful Lopez to convert into an empty net.
Jurgen Klopp had opted to leave in-form Daniel Sturridge on the bench, but vowed to attack in the second leg.
“If you go out in the semis, then do so kicking and screaming,” he said.
In the night’s other semi-final, Sevilla knocked in a pair of away goals at Shakhtar Donetsk to secure a 2-2 draw and leave them on course for a third successive Europa League final.
Machin Vitolo gave the Andalucians a 6th minute lead before the Ukrainian team hit back through Bonfim Marlos and Taras Stepanenko, with a confident late penalty from Kevin Gameiro forcing the stalemate.
Meanwhile, a tribunal has ruled that Liverpool must pay Burnley a record £8 million (€10.3 million) for their former striker Danny Ings as the two clubs failed to agree terms.
The fee eclipses the £6.5 million (€8.3 million) awarded to Manchester City when Daniel Sturridge moved to Chelsea in 2009.
The Reds defender Mamadou Sakho has also been handed a 30-day suspension by UEFA as he awaits details of his disciplinary hearing for failing a drugs test following the Europa League tie with Manchester United on March 17.