Villarreal could be without one of their leading goalscorers for the Champions League semi-final at Liverpool, with Gerard Moreno suffering a “severe” injury.
The first leg of the Reds’ Champions League semi-final will take place at Anfield on April 27, with Jurgen Klopp‘s side looking to take a big advantage into the decider.
Having overcome Atletico Madrid, Porto, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Benfica already in this season’s tournament, LaLiga surprise package Villarreal are all that stands between Liverpool and the final.
It would be a third Champions League final in five years, but with Villarreal having already knocked out both Juventus and Bayern Munich, it will not be an easy task.
However, the situation may have been made easier by the potential absence of Moreno, the Spanish side’s second-top goalscorer.
? MEDICAL REPORT: @GerardMoreno9 has a severe hamstring strain. His recovery time depends on how he responds to treatment.@AsisaSalud pic.twitter.com/kkfggqraUv
— Villarreal CF English (@VillarrealCFen) April 18, 2022
Moreno, who has already missed a number of games due to various injuries, made only his 26th appearance of the campaign on Saturday, scoring one and assisting another.
But the 30-year-old was forced off just after the hour mark in the 2-1 win at Getafe, having picked up a hamstring problem.
Villarreal have since described it as a “severe strain,” with Moreno requiring further assessment before any timeframe is set for his recovery.
That casts doubt over not only his involvement at Anfield, but perhaps also the return leg at El Madrigal on May 3, with anything worse than a grade 1 strain likely to sideline the striker for at least a matter of weeks.
Moreno played a vital role in securing Villarreal’s progress to the semi-finals, with a goal in the 3-0 second-leg win away to Juventus and an assist in the Allianz Arena decider against Bayern.
Only one other Villarreal player has scored more than eight goals so far this term, that being Liverpool target Arnaut Danjuma (14).
Danjuma could be deployed up front in Moreno’s absence, while former Barcelona and Bayern Munich forward Paco Alcacer would be another alternative in attack.
Ex-Liverpool left-back Alberto Moreno is already guaranteed to miss both legs against his old club, with the 29-year-old having ruptured his ACL back in March.
Midfielder Dani Parejo and goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli are one booking away from a suspension in the Champions League, which can also be said of Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota.