Liverpool will need to turn around a one-goal deficit to make the Europa League final at Villarreal’s expense, a task made all the more difficult by failure to register an away goal. All hope is far from abandoned though.
If you are going to lose the initial leg on your travels, then the deposit of an away goal can prove priceless in the final shakedown of a European tie.
A 2-1 or 3-2 defeat is far more preferable to the last-gasp 1-0 loss Liverpool suffered in their semi-final first leg at Etadio El Madrigal, however, there are plenty of recent examples to provide inspiration to Jurgen Klopp’s wounded soldiers.
Liverpool can look close to home
The best source of stimulation is Liverpool themselves, and not simply because they managed to overhaul Borussia Dortmund 4-3, from 3-1 down, with barely 20 minutes to play in their last Anfield outing in the competition.
Liverpool – who are now priced as 6/5 outsiders to qualify – as a club are well versed in the art of the comeback.
Faced the same scenario as recently as 2009/10, when Lille had stung them 1-0 on French soil in the Europa League’s last 16, the atmosphere clearly got to the Ligue 1 outfit at Anfield. Lille were blown away 3-0 on the night.
That tie was proceeded by a quarter-final against Benfica where the Portuguese giants travelled to Merseyside 2-1 to the good, before Liverpool powered to a 4-1 victory to see them reach the last four.
Others have also shown Reds the way
Benfica’s exploits a few years later can also offer Klopp’s men genuine hope.
Trailing Fenerbahce 1-0 at the semi-final stage, the Turkish side came a cropper by a 3-1 scoreline when a week later at Estadio Da Luz.
Chelsea and Tottenham have also recovered from 1-0 losses in the Europa League in recent times.
The Blues ensured Benfica’s aforementioned exploits were in vein in 2012/13, but had to overturn Steaua Bucharest’s single-goal lead at Stamford Bridge en route to glory earlier in the knockouts.
A season later Spurs also saw off Dnipro 3-1 at White Hart Lane having given themselves work to do at 1-0 down in the tie.
Recent goal-filled Anfield form is a huge plus
Klopp has been correctly criticised for not introducing Daniel Sturridge at some point in the first leg given his prolific recent form, but the Reds striker will surely be in from the start for the return, something than can only aid their chances.
Furthermore, Liverpool have hardly been shy of scoring at Anfield recently, bagging 14 over their past four outings in front of their own fans.
<strong>All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.</strong>