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Close clash in Liverpool v Villarreal ‘Beatles derby’, Sevilla to edge Shaktar

Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | April 27, 2016

Villarreal v Liverpool

  • Europa League
  • Tuesday, April 28th
  • Kick-off: 20:05 BST
  • El Madrigal, Villarreal
  • Live on BT Sport Europe

Reds favourites to reach final

Liverpool and Villarreal face off for the first time in history in what can be dubbed as ‘The Beatles derby’, due to the former being the home of the famous band and the latter nicknamed the Yellow Submarine. On the day of the match too on April 28th, the band coincidentally took a holiday to Spain 53 years ago in 1963.

Visitors Liverpool will have high hopes going into this Europa League semi-final first leg with Villarreal, being in by far the better form and incredibly seeing off Borussia Dortmund in the last round.

The Reds’ 5-4 aggregate win over Jurgen Klopp’s former side will no doubt go in the archives as one of the best comebacks in football, so their passion and determination should see them qualify for the final (odds-on at 1/2 with Coral to do so).

At 2/1, Liverpool are also fantastic shouts to win the away leg in Spain, to carry on their unbeaten run in all competitions to eight. A draw at 9/4 is tempting too.

Villarreal (6/4 match favourites, and 13/8 to qualify), though, are higher up in their domestic division than the Merseysiders, being in fourth place, despite having won just two of their last nine La Liga clashes.

Liverpool v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Europa League - Quarter Final - Second Leg - Anfield

In-form Bakambu to produce goods again

French-born DR Congo forward Cedric Bakambu has been key to the Yellow Submarine’s run to their fourth European semi-final, smashing nine goals in 10 fixtures this competition. Four of them came in the quarter-final romp over Sparta Prague.

Bakambu is 6/5 to anytime, and a more enticing 6/1 to bag a brace or better once more.

Liverpool’s own Europa League talisman this, Divock Origi, however, will be missing after being injured by Everton’s Ramiro Funes Mori in the Merseyside derby.

That means Daniel Sturridge (7/4 in the anytime market) will lead the attack, with the likes of attackers Philippe Coutinho (2/1), Roberto Firmino (11/4) and Adam Lallana (4/1) in support.

The Yellow Submarine have been boosted by possible returns of Mateo Musacchio and Jaume Costa to shore up the Spaniards’ defence. A 0-0 draw, therefore, is priced at 13/2.

Shakhtar Donetsk v Sevilla

  • Europa League
  • Tuesday, April 28th
  • Kick-off: 20:05 BST
  • Arena Lviv, Lviv
  • Live on BT Sport 2 and BT Sport Showcase

Champions Sevilla face daunting trip

In the other semi, defending dual Europa champions Sevilla travel to Shakhtar Donetsk in the hope of repeating their narrow 5-4 aggregate win they inflicted over the Ukrainians in the 2006/07 UEFA Cup. The Bathtubs are 17/10 chances for victory in the first leg, and odds-on at 2/5 to qualify for their fifth final in 11 years.

Spanish side Sevilla won 3-2 the last time they faced Shakhtar away, while they battled out a 2-2 draw at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, so odds of 23/10 say that the total match goals will be over 3.5 once more.

Unai Emery’s men have not enjoyed the best of seasons so far, after losing four of their six Champions League group games, while they are also seventh in La Liga following four defeats in their previous six as well.

Gameiro to get goals in Ukraine

Athletic Bilbao v Sevilla - UEFA Europa League - Quarter Final - First Leg - San Mames Stadium

France forward Kevin Gameiro has been in fine form, however, netting 25 times in all competitions, including last time out against Athletic Bilbao in the second leg of the quarters. He is 7/4 to strike anytime, as is big Basque frontman Fernando Llorente.

Ukraine winger Yevhen Konoplyanka, meanwhile, is 2/1 in the same market to score in his homeland, while former Stoke City midfielder Steven N’Zonzi is 6/1.

For 2008/09 UEFA Cup champions Shakhtar (13/8 for victory), they have a number of attacking talent on offer, including Brazilian-born trio Taison (7/4 to net anytime), Eduardo (2/1), Wellington Nem (11/4) and Bernard (10/3).

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Coral’s top tip: Liverpool are 2/1 to win their first leg in Villarreal.

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