The Champions League semi-finals begin this week as Liverpool, Manchester City, Villarreal and Real Madrid battle to make the final in Paris.

Read on for a preview of Wednesday's first leg as the Premier League sides bid to make the final.


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Wednesday 27 April

Liverpool vs Villarreal - 7pm (KO 8pm) on BT Sport 2HD & Ultimate - Live stream

On the face of it, Liverpool couldn’t have dreamt they’d be facing a team with the stature of Villarreal in the Champions League semi-finals.

Yet in Unai Emery, they are also up against a manager who is unrivalled in terms of success in knockout European matches.

The Yellow Submarine stunned Juventus with a 3-0 last-16 second-leg win in Turin before a late Samuel Chukwueze strike defeated Bayern Munich on their own patch in the quarters.

It means that, for first time since 2005/06, the tiny city in eastern Spain have a team in the final four of Europe’s premier club competition.

Emery's men are hardly on fire domestically - they enter Wednesday's clash languishing in seventh place in La Liga with 52 points from 32 games played. 

But the former Arsenal boss always saves his best for Europe and will relish the chance of testing his mettle against arguably the most formidable side on the continent.

Liverpool are in the running for an historic quadruple, and with one in the bag already, you wouldn’t put it past Jurgen Klopp’s incredible team.

The Reds will enter this tie as heavy, heavy favourites to advance to a third Champions League final in five seasons and it’s easy to see why, having eased past Inter and Benfica in the previous knockout rounds.

Klopp will once again call on Anfield to produce another famous atmosphere on European nights as he looks to secure a comfortable advantage to take to Spain for the return leg.

One word of warning though. Emery’s Villarreal possess a notoriously tight defence in knockouts and after leaking just two goals in four games against Bayern Munich and Juventus, the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane will have to be at their sharpest to sink the Yellow Submarine’s backline.

Tuesday 26 April

Manchester City claimed a slender advantage in their Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid after a dramatic 4-3 victory at the Etihad Stadium.

The Premier League leaders raced into a 2-0 lead in a pulsating first-leg encounter with goals from the irrepressible Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus in the first 11 minutes.

Real responded through the prolific Karim Benzema before Phil Foden and Vinicius Junior traded goals early in the second half.

Full match report