Liverpool will be out to write a new chapter in the Champions League history books when they meet Villarreal at La Ceramica for the second leg of their semi-final tie on Tuesday night.
Unai Emery‘s side travelled to Anfield for the first leg seeking to gain the upper hand after producing shock results against Juventus and Bayern Munich earlier in the tournament.
The Yellow Submarine held out for the first 45 minutes against Jurgen Klopp‘s men, but the Reds struck through Sadio Mane and a Pervis Estupinan own goal to take a 2-0 lead into the second leg.
Either Manchester City or Real Madrid will await Liverpool if they can avoid a calamitous collapse away from home, where they have enjoyed a strong set of results in Europe this season.
Liverpool have endured daunting journeys to Porto, Benfica, Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid and AC Milan’s territory in the Champions League this term, but Klopp has seen his side come out on top on all five occasions.
The quadruple-chasing Merseyside giants have also scored at least two goals in each of those matches, and a European record is theirs for the taking against Villarreal this week.
Should Liverpool advance to the final for a 10th time by winning the second leg, they will set a new record for a 100% streak away from home in the competition for the most games in a single campaign.
The Reds’ prospects of coming up trumps on Villarreal’s turf seem relatively strong after Emery’s side did not post a single shot on target in the first leg, but both Bayern Munich and Juventus have failed to win on the Yellow Submarine’s turf so far this season.
A 1-0 win away to Newcastle United at the weekend sees Liverpool enter the second leg on a four-game winning streak in all competitions, as well as a 12-game unbeaten run since that inconsequential last-16 second-leg loss to Inter Milan.
Furthermore, no side has been able to hand Liverpool their first defeat of 2022 away from home yet, with Leicester City the last side to do so back in December 2021.
While the Liverpool team set out to break a European record on Tuesday, Mane is on the verge of equalling Frank Lampard‘s leading statistic of 15 Champions League knockout goals for an English club after his 14th such effort in the first leg.
Klopp has confirmed that Liverpool will head into the second leg with a near fully-fit squad after Curtis Jones, Kostas Tsimikas and Divock Origi all overcame stomach bugs to train on Monday.
However, Roberto Firmino continues to miss out with a foot injury, and Klopp was keen to stress to his players in his pre-match press conference that they may never get another opportunity to play in a Champions League semi-final again.
With the EFL Cup already secured and an FA Cup final with Chelsea on the agenda, Liverpool have entered the first week of May having already come closer to winning the quadruple than any other English side before them.
The Premier League title is still out of the Reds’ hands, though, with Klopp’s side relying on leaders Manchester City to drop points in order to usurp the reigning champions in the table.