Liverpool took a giant stride towards another Champions League final with a commanding victory over Villarreal at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp’s quadruple-chasing Reds had to demonstrate patience to break down a Villarreal side well organised by European specialist Unai Emery.
Liverpool were held at bay despite creating all the chances and needed a touch of fortune to break the deadlock after 53 minutes when Jordan Henderson’s cross was deflected beyond Villarreal keeper Geronimo Rulli by Pervis Estupinan.
Sadio Mane increased Liverpool’s control when he touched Mohamed Salah’s pass beyond Rulli two minutes later.
The second leg in Villarreal is still to come next Tuesday but Liverpool now look firmly on course to meet either Manchester City or Real Madrid in the final in Paris in May.