VILLARREAL, Spain (AP) — Liverpool rallied after an early scare to defeat Villarreal 3-2 and advance to their third Champions League final in five seasons on Tuesday.
Villarreal looked on their way to another stunning upset after opening a two-goal lead in the first half to offset their 2-0 first-leg loss in England, but the modest Spanish club couldn’t keep up and Liverpool came from behind to advance 5-2 on aggregate.
After Boulaye Dia and Francis Coquelin put Villarreal ahead by the 41st minute, Fabinho, substitute Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane scored in the second half to propel Liverpool into the final for the first time since winning their sixth European title in 2019.
Based in a city of 50,000 people in southern Spain, Villarreal had eliminated Juventus in the round of 16 and Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals.
Unai Emery’s team played a man down from the 86th after Etienne Capoue, who assisted on both Villarreal’s goals, was sent off with a second yellow card.
Liverpool will play the May 28 final in Paris against either Premier League rival Manchester City or 13-time European champion Real Madrid. They will meet on Wednesday in Madrid with City defending a 4-3 win from the first leg in England.
The victory also keeps alive Liverpool’s hopes of a “quadruple” — winning all four major trophies in one season.