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Villarreal hit with double injury blow as squad arrives for Liverpool clash

Villarreal should be without three of their top five goalscorers when they take on Liverpool tonight, with Unai Emery revealing a double injury blow.

The Spanish side are visitors for the first leg of the Champions League semi-final, and are considered rank outsiders despite already knocking out both Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Jurgen Klopp has insisted Liverpool will not take Villarreal lightly, though, with the manager saying before the game: “Maybe Juve or Bayern underestimated them, but that will never happen to us.”

The Reds will be without Roberto Firmino, while Kostas Tsimikas was not seen in training on Tuesday, but otherwise Klopp has a full-strength squad to select from.

Emery, meanwhile, is also without a number of players, with the 50-year-old providing an update on two of his regular starters in his pre-match press conference.

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - AUGUST 11: Gerard Moreno of Villarreal celebrates after scoring his penalty in the shootout during the UEFA Super Cup 2021 match between Chelsea FC and Villarreal CF at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park on August 11, 2021 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Lukas Schulze - © UEFA)

Yeremi Pino, the 19-year-old winger who has featured in more games than any other Villarreal player this season, is out, while for Gerard Moreno, second-top goalscorer with 13, it will come “too soon” to be at 100 percent.

The suggestion is that Moreno could make the substitutes’ bench, though his namesake, ex-Liverpool left-back Alberto Moreno, is out with an ACL injury.

Remarkably the Reds’ former No. 18 is Villarreal’s joint-fifth leading scorer this season, meaning Emery could start tonight’s leg without three of his five main sources of goals.

2GKKACJ Valencia, Spain. 14th Sep, 2021. Arnaut Danjuma of Villarreal seen in action during the UEFA Champions League group F match between Villarreal CF and Atalanta at Estadio de la Ceramica in Villarreal. (Credit Image: © Xisco Navarro/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire)

Spanish publication Marca expect Arnaut Danjuma to lead the line supported by Tottenham loanee Giovani Lo Celso, with Alfonso Pedraza, a natural left-back, tipped to start in a four-man midfield over Manu Trigueros.

Danjuma, who has been linked with Liverpool in recent months, will undoubtedly be the dangerman, though winger Samuel Chukwueze and midfielder Dani Parejo are also key threats.

Emery’s side will include a number of familiar faces along with Danjuma and Lo Celso, with Etienne Capoue, Francis Coquelin and Juan Foyth all Premier League alumni.

Predicted Villarreal XI: Rulli; Foyth, Albiol, Torres, Estupinan; Coquelin, Capoue, Parejo, Pedraza; Lo Celso; Danjuma

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