There was a bit of spice and class all mixed in together as Liverpool notched an invaluable 2-0 win over Villarreal at a raucous Anfield under the European lights.
Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds knew a stubborn Villarreal outfit was awaiting in the Champions League semi-finals and we need only to wait until the second minute to have first sight of time-wasting.
But Liverpool chipped away one minute at a time and finally broke the Spanish outfit’s resolve twice in quick succession, causing Anfield to erupt as a significant step to the final was taken.
The night was won not without a plethora of talking points and fans did not miss a beat across social media, from a full-time face off to a reunion and the class actions of the travelling Villarreal fans:
Thiago the Magician
This man brings his own ball to games and is so busy enchanting the opposition that they can’t help but watch the magic unfold as we do too.
‘Oohs and ahhs’ accompany his every move, he’s a level above the rest and a joy to behold and it was no different at Anfield on Wednesday night.
With a 96 percent pass accuracy, a post denying a pearler of a goal and a commanding presence in midfield, Thiago continues to set the world alight and it’s coming at just the right time for Liverpool.
His name was serenaded in the stands and on social media:
Thiago Alcantara vs. Villarreal
96% Pass accuracy
9/9 Accurate long passes
0/1 Shots on target (hit the post)
3/7 Duels won
1/1 Tackle won
Running out of ways to express my love. pic.twitter.com/t7a0QeIluA
— The Tactical Times (@Tactical_Times) April 27, 2022
Thiago will never be in the Ballon d'Or conversation.
But on performances alone he really fucking should be. Boss every game. Often completely unplayable. Makes the absolutely sublime look a piece of piss.
— Stephen Drennan (@babuyagu) April 27, 2022
I have been watching Liverpool for 48 years. Season ticket holder for 35. I don’t think I have seen a player with more natural skill on the ball in all that time than Thiago Alcantara. It’s a bloody privilege to watch that guy, week in week out.
— Mike Wilson* (@Redsmail) April 28, 2022
@Thiago6 thank you so much for giving your shirt to my son Archie tonight, he’s so happy !
Boss player even better person ????mucho gracias señor ?? YNWA #LFC @LFC #UCL pic.twitter.com/ziFjR3aJIm
— Anthony Daly (@adaly1892) April 27, 2022
We are so very lucky.
A class act
Villarreal’s supporters were in fine voice before, during and after the Anfield tie and they showed a touch of class that is sadly absent from many visiting teams.
Wednesday was not the first time they have honoured the victims of the Hillsborough disaster and it exemplified who they are as a collective, with Reds quick to show appreciation in return:
Villarreal fans exceptional tonight – great colour, great noise, and were able to watch a game at Anfield without mocking poverty or the death of 97 people. A lesson to many, many others. ?? https://t.co/K0RG8xZZrk
— Sachin Nakrani (@SachinNakrani) April 27, 2022
Seeing alot of togetherness tonight between both sets of fans, this is what football is all about not what happened on Sunday. Welcome to liverpool villarreal ?? https://t.co/t2D5o9BFex
— Redman 97 (@michaellfc90) April 27, 2022
I saw a lot of tweets yesterday about the Villarreal fans over for the Champions League semi-final, hanging out with LFC fans and having a great time; they even brought a banner for the 97. I love this https://t.co/EsyuzaXMNs
— Jaq W (@Jaq__W) April 28, 2022
This is what football should be.
An old friend
Alberto Moreno could play no part at Anfield after an ACL injury in March but he remains an ever-present in and around the Villarreal squad.
He was on the pitch after the final whistle and took time to talk to Alisson and Virgil van Dijk, whom he shared in the Champions League triumph back in 2019!
A mini-reunion and one that is sure to bring a smile to your face. Once a Red, always a Red.
The face off
Adrian hahah comin in like a sicario. "Not today man" whilst tapin his gun with his index finger.
Hendo as usual straight in with a ice cold stare thatll make a polar bear frost bit and a STFU. https://t.co/DvjyGS2wbi
— chris1182 (@chris11825) April 28, 2022
There was a bit of tension after the final whistle and the skipper had a little word that you could abbreviate to ‘STFU’.
Klopp even got in on the action while Adrian played mediator and Trent offered a wry grin, a clip you have to watch a number of times to take in each reaction!
We’ve got the first laugh but we need the last laugh too.
Allez Allez Allez
The atmosphere was electrifying inside Anfield, especially as Liverpool hit Villarreal twice in the space of two minutes.
It was rocking and if there was a roof, it would be long gone! What a night it was.
Allez allez allez ? pic.twitter.com/xbAz3uxqAm
— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) April 27, 2022
? The noise after Mane had made it 2-0 ?#LFC ? #UCL pic.twitter.com/2hWGmvcfY2
— Neil Jones (@neiljonesgoal) April 27, 2022
Anfield atmosphere a myth, please.