In pictures: Villarreal v Liverpool
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Rio Ferdinand has ripped into Villarreal after they endured a second-half collapse to be dumped out of the Champions League semi-finals. The La Liga side had gone two goals up in the first period to put themselves on course for a historic comeback against Liverpool.
But goals from Luis Diaz, Fabinho and Sadio Mane ultimately saw them crash out, with the Reds booking their place in the Paris final. The manner of the hosts’ collapse left Ferdinand furious.
They saw Etienne Capoue sent off after recieving two yellow cards, with keeper Rulli enduring a dreadful performance. That led to former Manchester United star Ferdinand slamming Villarreal and manager Unai Emery.
“That was an opportunity missed for Villarreal. Congratulations to Liverpool, deserved winners in the end. They were on the ropes but they were allowed to get themselves back together at half-time,” he told BT Sport.
“Villarreal took their foot off the pedal, all their great work pressurising Liverpool, pinning them back, not giving them any time, but in the second half they played exactly how they played in the first leg and got demolished.
“I don’t know how they let them off, was it a conscious decision from Unai Emery? Did they make sure they had a breather? It killed them. Liverpool smelt blood and fair play to them they demolished this Villarreal team.”
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While he was highly criticial of Villarreal and their performance, Ferdinand did admit Liverpool would feel relieved to have won. They were left shell-shocked at half-time by Emery’s men, but fought back to confirm their place in their third Champions League final under Klopp’s management.
“When you win the way they have, if you had gone in at half time to their changing room and said ‘do you really believe you can win?’ They’d have said yes! They had to work hard for it, there’s no better feeling than when you work hard for it and get there. They’ll enjoy it these boys,” he added.
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