Lovren vs Bakumbu And Other Key Battles That Will Decide Liverpool’s Game Against Villarreal

After a dramatic victory over Borussia Dortmund in their last European fixture, the Reds march on to the Semi Finals and this time, they will be travelling to Estadio El Madrigal to face the Spanish side, Villarreal. Just a couple of seasons back, the Spanish side was struggling in the second tier of Spanish football. The players showed a real character to bounce back on to the track.

Villarreal quite easily defeated Sparta Prague in their quarter-final tie but, have to produce a solid performance against Klopp’s side. Mamadou Sakho and Divock Origi’s absence will be hugely missed by the side and Villarreal could well take an advantage of that.

Villarreal are on the 4th spot in La Liga and are doing a great job. Players like Bakumbu, Suarez and Soriano could cause some real problems to the Liverpool’s defence. On the other hand, Liverpool have Coutinho, Milner and Sturridge who could split Villarreal’s defence with their pace.

It will be a tough game and here are the 3 key battles that would decide Liverpool’s game against Villarreal-

Lovren vs Bakumbu-

This time, Lovren will have to step on to the pitch with a different partner as Sakho has been suspended. The Croatian defender will be facing the inform Villarreal striker Cedric Bakumbu. Bakumbu has been phenomenal this season and has netted 23 goals in all competition for the side including his 9 goals in the Europa League which makes him the highest scorer in the competition.

On the other hand, Lovren will prove to be a tough opponent for Bakumbu. Bakumbu can beat the Croatian in pace but cannot match his aerial abilities. Lovren is improving and we are witnessing it now. He has been great in his positioning and in his marking. Bakumbu is a real threat when he play alongs the ex-Tottenham striker Soldado and can give Lovren a run for his money.

 

Clyne vs Suarez-

Denis Suarez, the name would be a new one but let me tell you; he once played for Manchester City but, found chances limited at the Etihad Stadium. He played for the ‘B’ team of Barcelona and there he caught the eyes of Sevilla, enjoyed a full season as a loanee at the club and eventually secured a move to Villarreal last summer.

He can be called as a traditional Spanish footballer as he possesses a great passing accuracy. Usually deployed at the left wing, he can cause real problems to Liverpool’s fullback Nathaniel Clyne. Suarez is a tricky winger and is renowned for his great crossing abilities as well.

He is always calm and composed and never hesitates in the tight areas. His first touch is really classy plus, he provides a creative outlook to the Spanish side. Clyne, on the other hand, is an offensive full-back provides a great support in defence as well. It’s just a matter of time to see how these two collide.

Sturridge vs Victor Ruiz-

As Divock Origi will be missing the game following his injury, Daniel Sturridge will surely lead the attacking lines for his club. He will be facing the 27-years-old Spanish Defender Víctor Ruiz. He might not be a big name but, he is a great defender.

In his 12 appearances in the Europa League, he has one assist to his name; he has won 6 tackles this season. He has made 33 interceptions, 50 clearances and 6 blocks in the competition. He averages 7 defensive actions per game and that is a very good number.

Sturridge scored a great goal in their previous premier league fixture and will be looking forward to continue his good form. Ruiz possesses a great speed and so does Sturridge and that’s why it will be an interesting battle to look for.

 

Written by Swapnil Bhopatkar

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