The Champions League semi-final first legs take place this weekend. The big European week of games gets underway with Manchester City vs Real Madrid on Tuesday, but Liverpool and Villarreal collide 24 hours later at Anfield. But, which of the sides will be able to take advantage into the second leg?

Liverpool vs Villarreal Schedule

  • When: Wednesday, April 27 at 3:00 PM ET
  • Where: Anfield, Liverpool
  • How To Watch: CBS Sports

Liverpool vs Villarreal Odds


Liverpool vs Villarreal Preview

Reds Hot Favorites

The end of this season could be one of the biggest in the history of Liverpool Football Club, as they are still chasing an unprecedented quadruple. They have already picked up success in the League Cup, but over the final month of the season, they could add Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup glory to that list of honors. Liverpool would have been quietly pleased that Villarreal made it through the quarterfinal stage, as it meant avoiding missing a heavyweight showdown against Bayern Munich.

The Reds eased through their group stage campaign with six wins from six, before a first defeat was suffered against Inter Milan at Anfield in the second leg of their round of 16 clash. However, their job already looked to be complete at that stage, as the Reds were sailing into the quarterfinal stage. Liverpool once again took a strong hold in their quarterfinal showdown against Benfica, as they won 3-1 away, before playing out a 3-3 draw at Anfield. This time, they will have home advantage in the first leg, and they will be looking to make that count.

Villarreal Looking For Another Big Win

Very few people would have predicted Villarreal reaching this stage of the Champions League. The reigning Europa League champions will be looking to become the first side since Porto in 2004 to win the Europa League and Champions League in successive seasons. The Spanish side finished second in their Champions League group earlier in the campaign, as they were beaten home and away by Manchester United.

However, they have stepped up their game in the second half of the season, and have knocked out Juventus and Bayern Munich in the previous two rounds. Their victory over the reigning German champions was the big shock in the Champions League this season, as Unai Emery’s side scored late in the game to level the scores and advance 2-1 on aggregate. However, this is a much trickier assignment against the high-flying Reds.

Recent Meetings

This will be the third time that Liverpool and Villarreal clashed. They previously met in the 2015-16 season of the Europa League, with both sides winning their home legs. Liverpool eventually progressed, but were beaten in the final of that season’s competition by a Sevilla side managed by Unai Emery.

Liverpool vs Villarreal Prediction

This tie isn’t likely to be as easy as many feel, as Villarreal have already proven themselves to be difficult opponents for the best sides in Europe. However, I can see Liverpool winning the home leg by a slender margin to set up an exciting second leg.

Pick: Liverpool (-334)