Liverpool reached the final of the Champions League for the third time in five years after overcoming Villarreal in the semi-finals of the competition by a 5-2 aggregate scoreline. The Reds were seemingly in control of the tie after winning the first leg 2-0 at Anfield.
However, the Spanish side came roaring back into the semi-final courtesy of goals from Bolaye Dia and Francis Coquelin to level the scores at the break at El Madrigal. Jurgen Klopp turned to his bench for inspiration by bringing on Luis Diaz. Liverpool responded in the second half as goals from Fabinho, Sadio Mane, and Diaz averted the crisis to secure their place in the final.
Liverpool are now the leading contender, priced at -120 in the Champions League odds, to win the competition for the seventh time. Only Real Madrid and Milan have won the Champions League more times than Liverpool, who could join the Italian side as the joint-second most successful team in the history of the competition. The Reds more than any other side from England know what it takes to win the Champions League. Time and again the club has raised the standard of their performances under the bright lights even when they were far from the powerhouses of English football as they are now.
In 2005 under Rafael Benitez, Liverpool outbattled Juventus in a nervy quarter-final before facing Chelsea under Jose Mourinho in the semi-finals. At the time, Chelsea and Mourinho were at the peak of their powers and were on the march towards the Premier League crown, as well as the Champions League.
But, Benitez and Liverpool stifled the Blues at Stamford Bridge before Luis Garcia scored the only goal of the tie in the fourth minute of the second leg at Anfield to send the Reds into the final. The 2005 final is one of the most famous in history. Liverpool was down and out at 3-0 down in Istanbul against Milan, but an incredible second-half comeback resulted in penalties before Andriy Shevchenko saw his effort saved by Jerzy Dudek to hand Liverpool the crown.
The Reds have made a habit of creating those moments when they can turn the momentum of a tie on its head. They were once more down and out against Barcelona in the semi-finals of the 2018/2019 Champions League after losing the first leg 3-0 at Camp Nou.Even without Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, they crushed the Spanish giants 4-0 at Anfield as the Catalan side crumbled under the pressure. Unheralded players Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum came to the fore to score two goals apiece to put Liverpool on the path to the final where they would then conquer Tottenham to win their sixth crown.
Liverpool displayed their ability under pressure against Villarreal. When Klopp needed composure and a clinical edge from his team they delivered. It is why they will enter the final with a great deal of confidence, knowing that there is a special element that they can seemingly unlock when their need is greatest.