The huge economic advantage that the Premier League enjoys in television rights deals is Madrid’s continued motivation to seek a guaranteed income stream from the European Super League (ESL).
However, Villarreal’s run to the final 4th round is a reminder of why there is such outcry over a closed ESL store.
Jurgen Klopp’s men are one point behind Man City with five games to go in the thrilling Premier League title race. But they did better than City to reach the FA Cup final next month and lift the League Cup in February.
Klopp experienced defeats to Villarreal manager Unai Emery in Europe when his side Sevilla beat Liverpool in the 2016 Europa League final.
It’s just one of Emery’s four Europa League titles, the last of which came when Villarreal beat Manchester United in last year’s final just to qualify for the Champions League.
“They’re probably the most successful trophy manager in world football, so he knows what he’s doing,” said Klopp. “Unai Emery is the king of trophies. It’s unbelievable what he’s doing.”
It is understandable that Liverpool become the favorites ahead of the first leg at Anfield on Wednesday, given the disparity in resources between the clubs.
City are also expected to reach the final for the second year in a row despite the wide gap in European pedigree between the English champions and Madrid. But Pep Guardiola’s army won convincingly when the two teams met in the round of 16 two years ago.
“This is the third time we’ve played a Champions League semi-final against a team that has several Champions Leagues in the trophy cabinet,” said Guardiola.
“It has to be a special night for us to enjoy it, give it all we have in our souls and after that we’ll see what happens.”
Madrid made a remarkable comeback from 2-0 to beat Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 and hit back after a 3-0 defeat at Chelsea at the Santiago Bernabeu to a full semi-final. thrilling.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men will again have the home advantage in the second leg next week, but doubts remain as to whether Los Blancos can continue to be shouldered by the aging legs of Karim Benzema and Luka Modric. are not.
The excellence achieved during the era of Klopp and Guardiola in the North West of England has seen Liverpool and Man City persistently rewrite the record books. Over the next 10 days, they have the chance to prove they are the two best teams in Europe by ending La Liga’s challenge to the English’s Champions League dominance.