Premier League vs LaLiga: Man City and Liverpool take UCL semi-final leads to Spain

April 28 – A second straight all-English Champions League final is on the cards after Liverpool swept aside Villarreal 2-0 in the first leg of their semi-final on Wednesday.

With Manchester City, last season’s beaten finalist, taking a one-goal advantage to Real Madrid next week, the final in Paris looks like featuring the Premiership’s two top sides.

After being absent from the final for five seasons between 2013 and 2017, the Premier League has now provided five of the past eight finalists, with two of the past three showdowns being all-English affairs.

Whether that’s a good thing or not for the neutral, or for the competition in fact, is certainly a subject for debate.

Next month’s final could still of course feature one or even two Spanish sides. But unless Real can win by two goals in the second leg – and Villarreal by three – the showpiece in Paris will have a familiar look about it as City try to win Europe’s biggest club prize for the first time and Liverpool for the seventh.

In stark contrast to the free-flowing nature of Manchester City’s 4-3 win over Real on Tuesday, Unai Emery’s Villarreal followed the same tactic that saw them shock Juventus and Bayern Munich in previous rounds.

But this time, the limitations of the underdogs were severely exploited and they never got close to Liverpool. “It could have been even worse but we still have a chance. I want to show we are capable of playing a different game at home,” said Emery.

As for Liverpool, they have now scored 135 goals in all competitions this season, their only defeat in 2022 being in the second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie with Inter Milan. But manager Jurgen Klopp is playing down getting to yet another final with a unique quadruple of trophies still a possibility.

“You have to be alert and play the second leg like the first,” he said. “It will be a tricky atmosphere for us. They will fight with all they have. It’s always the same.”

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