Liverpool made life difficult for themselves against Villarreal but were confident in getting the job done, defender Trent Alexander-Arnold said after his side came back from two goals down on Tuesday to reach the Champions League final.
Liverpool played the proverbial game of two halves to book their spot in the showpiece after a 5-2 aggregate semifinal win, bouncing back from conceding two goals in the first half of the away leg in Spain to score three times in the second.
Alexander-Arnold was easily beaten for Villarreal’s second of the night from Francis Coquelin, but goals from Fabinho, Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane spared his blushes.
Liverpool head to the final in Paris on 28 May to meet either Manchester City or Real Madrid, who play on Wednesday.
“We never tend to make these Champions League semis easy for ourselves,” full back Alexander-Arnold told BT Sport.
“It was difficult for us (in the) first half, sometimes you can’t really control the game the way you want to. They started the game very well, scored early goals which is obviously what they wanted to do, but like I said, we got the game done,” he added.
Fabinho fired Liverpool back into the lead in the tie in the 62nd minute, backing himself to score rather than passing.
“When I received the ball from Mo Salah my first thought was to pass the ball, but I thought Sadio was offside, I don’t know, so I decided to shoot. And I think that (was) the best option,” the Brazilian midfielder said.
For 45 minutes Villarreal, whose town population of around 50 000 would fit inside Liverpool’s Anfield stadium with seats to spare, looked like they were in with a chance, and though Raul Albiol was disappointed to see his side go out, he was proud too.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 3, 2022
“Football is beautiful — this was a defeat, but we will always remember this run… a sad night, but also unforgettable,” the defender told reporters.
The Liverpool team head home to prepare for their Premier League meeting with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday and find out who they will face in the final in Paris later this month.
“It’s always nice to get the job done on a Tuesday, we can watch the game tomorrow knowing we’re going to be there and we’re going to play. I’m sure it’ll be a good game,” Alexander-Arnold said.