If Liverpool are to advance to their first European final in nine years, the Reds will have to overturn their 1-0 first leg deficit against Villarreal.
Adrian Lopez’s injury time tap-in at El Madrigal gave the Spanish side an advantage heading into the second leg at Anfield, but Jurgen Klopp’s side will feel as though they were unlucky to have come away from Spain without an away goal.
Both Joe Allen and Alberto Moreno were guilty of passing up good opportunities to give the English outfit an all-important away goal heading into the second leg.
But the Merseyside club will be confident of coming from behind against Marcelino’s side, as they staged a stunning comeback in their quarter-final second leg win over against Borussia Dortmund – winning 5-4 on aggregate.
However, the Yellow Submarine will go into the game without fear, as they have performed well throughout the season – both in Europe and La Liga.
Villarreal are currently fourth in La Liga, with only Barcelona and Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid above them in the table.
Marcelino’s side had been struggling in La Liga action in recent weeks, though. Before their 2-0 win at Valencia at the weekend, Villarreal had failed to win their last three league games.
Liverpool, meanwhile, rested a number of players as they lost 3-1 at Swansea City on Sunday, which has affected their chances of securing a European spot for next season.
With the eventual Europa League winners being allocated a place in next term’s Champions League, Klopp’s side are certain to go all out for victory at Anfield.
Klopp will be without many of his star players in this must-win encounter. Defender Mamadou Sakho, who scored one of the goals against Borussia Dortmund, will not feature after his ban for failing an anti-doping test was extended worldwide by FIFA, while striker Divock Origi will be out for up to six weeks with an ankle ligament injury.
Captain Jordan Henderson is set to miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury, along with summer signing Joe Gomez, while Danny Ings is also still absent.
However, the return of Germany international Emre Can will be a boost to Klopp’s side. The central midfielder suffered an ankle injury in the quarter-final second leg win over Borussia Dortmund, but has recovered in time for this fixture.
Villarreal’s Leo Baptistao, who missed the first leg, has recovered from a groin injury and so the on-loan Atletico Madrid striker could play some part. Defender Eric Bailly has also returned following a groin problem.
League Position: Liverpool – 8th (Premier League – 55 pts); Villarreal – 4th (La Liga – 64 pts)
Previous Meeting: Villarreal 1-0 Liverpool (Europa League semi-final first leg, April 28, 2016)
Form: Villarreal – WLLDWW; Liverpool – WWWDLL
Key Men: Liverpool – Philippe Coutinho; Villarreal – Cedric Bakambu
Shoot Says: Liverpool 2-0 Villarreal