Lovren: Anfield inspired us

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren was full of praise for the club's supporters following their 3-1 aggregate victory over Villarreal in the the Europa League.

The Reds beat the Yellow Submarine 3-0 on Thursday to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg of the final four and secure their progress into the finals of the competition.

Lovren was in fine form in the heart of defence as Jurgen Klopp's men kept a clean sheet in front of their home crowd.

"It was a beautiful game. I think everybody enjoyed watching the game," Lovren told his club's website.

"We didn't expect this result but we believed from the beginning. As I said before the game, everything is possible here at Anfield, it's tough for every opponent to play here and expect something.

"The 12th player helped us today, our fans, the atmosphere was really amazing - even better than against Dortmund. It was an amazing game.

"We needed just to play our game and be confident in every situation [then] when we attacked we needed also to defend smartly at the same time," he added.

"I would say we had almost a perfect game. We didn't step back, we were always on the front foot, and so I think it's a deserved win.

Liverpool will face Sevilla on May 18 after the defending champions beat Shakhtar Donetsk 3-1 on Thursday for a 5-3 aggregate win.

However they have three Premier League fixtures still to play before then, and the defender insists no-one should get ahead of themselves.

"We still have a couple of games in the Premier League to play, we need to be concentrated, [take it] step by step," he added.

"We don't need to think of the final now, everything will come day by day. We need to just be calm and confident and hopefully without injuries so we can play with a full squad in the final."

Emery: EL special to Sevilla

Sevilla manager Unai Emery admits that the Europa League is special to the club after reaching their third consecutive final with a 3-1 win over Shakhtar Donetsk on Thursday.

A brace from Kevin Gameiro and a third from Mariano helped them to a semi-final second leg victory at Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán after a 2-2 draw in the first leg in Ukraine.

"It was a very exciting and special day," Emery said. "I think all Sevilla fans feel something special about this competition because it has given us a lot."

Sevilla have won back-to-back Europa League trophies and will face Liverpool in the final at St Jakob Park in Basel, Switzerland, on May 18 after the Reds overcame Villarreal.

"Liverpool are going to make us a very exigent final," Emery added. "Liverpool are aiming to win this competition for many reasons: It is a trophy, it gives you access to Champions League, they are historic team.

"I don't believe we could consider ourselves favourites against Liverpool. That's why I think it is going to be a fabulous final, very equal and we should enjoy it."

Villarreal boss slams referee

Villarreal manager Marcelino Garcia accused referee Viktor Kassai of favouring Liverpool after his side were eliminated from the Europa League following their 3-0 loss in the semi-final at Anfield on Thursday.

Taking a 1-0 first-leg lead to Anfield, Villarreal's hopes of reaching the final were dented by an early own goal from Bruno Soriano. Second-half strikes from Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana sealed the deal for the Reds.

The Spanish outfit should have had a penalty when Alberto Moreno pushed Denis Suarez over inside the area with the score at 2-0, while defender Victor Ruiz was sent off midway through the second half after picking up a second yellow card.

"In the context of this game the referee was letting a lot go so to then see a sending-off you make your own conclusions," he told reporters. "I don't think the refereeing was quite equal for both sides."

On the game itself he added: "Things didn't work out how we had planned them. It hit us hard conceding that early goal, it was a hammer blow.

"It was tough against an opponent who played with a huge amount of intensity, maybe on the margins of the rules at times but it was allowed.

"Liverpool played better than us but for all their superiority they didn't create too many chances. When we got to the sending off it was pretty much game over by then."

Liverpool display leaves Klopp speechless

Jurgen Klopp was lost for words after Liverpool beat Villarreal 3-0 at Anfield to qualify for the Europa League final.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, the Reds dominated throughout, with Bruno Soriano's early own goal followed by second-half strikes from Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana.

To make matters worse, the Spanish side, who appeared overwhelmed by the atmosphere and display, had defender Victor Ruiz sent off midway through the second half.

"I have not the right words for this performance so maybe you can find a few - it is your job," Klopp told reporters at the post-match press conference. "It was nice to watch, be part of it, the whole performance from 6.45pm when we drove through the road again.

"The first half-hour was power, the will was obvious and 15 minutes (of the first half) we lost a bit of patience.

"Second half we were back to the plan. We were very emotional plus very smart and scored some wonderful goals."

Klopp handed England striker Sturridge a first start in four European games, and the 26-year-old repaid his manager's faith with one of his best performances of the season.

"A great game from Daniel Sturridge," Klopp added. "You all see now when Daniel Sturridge is fit he is an unbelievable striker but even he needs players to play with and I know about his quality, I knew before I came here. Great player."

Liverpool will play Sevilla, who are aiming to win the competition for the third-consecutive season, in the final, which will be held in Basel on May 18.

Sevilla beat Shakhtar Donetsk 3-1 to win the tie 5-3 on aggregate.

Sevilla on course to defend Europa League title

Sevilla reached their third consecutive Europa league final after ovecoming Shakthar Donetsk 5-3 on aggegarte at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán.

  • Sevilla 3-1 Shakthar Donestk
  • Gamiero opens scoring
  • Eduardo levels matters
  • The Frenchman grabs his brace
  • Mariano gives Sevilla two goal advantage

Match summary

Sevilla remain on course to defend their Europa League title as they brushed aside Shakthar Donestk 5-3 on aggregate to set up a date with Liverpool in their third consecutive final.

A Kevin Gamiero brace and a Mariano screamer was enough to make sure former Arsenal forward Eduardo Da Silva's goal was merely a consolation on the evening.

Full report

After their 2-2 first-leg result Sevilla knew they had a tricky encounter ahead of them in their aim to reach their third consecutive Europa League final but French forward Kevin Gamiero starred on the evening for Unai Emery's side.

The former PSG's man's early goal settled the home supports' nerves as he pounced on a howler from the Shakthar defence to coolly slot the ball past Pyatov.

As Sevilla dominated for the better part of the first-half, Hirnyky silenced the home support on the stroke of half-time as Marlos, who terrorised Los Rojiblancos in the first-leg, was in the midst of the action again when he turned supplier for Eduardo da Silva.

After a marauding solo run he slipped the ball in for the former Arsenal striker to slot home his 10th goal in his last 15 games for the away side.

But within two minutes of the restart, the Europa League holders regained the advantage as the diminutive Gameiro struck to put Sevilla back in the lead.

Polish midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak's throughball was weighted to perfection before the French international rounded Pyatov to grab his seventh of the Europa League campaign - much to the delight of Unai Emery on the sidelines.

He nearly struck his third with an acrobatic bicycle going just wide but defender Mariano made sure they didn't live to rue the miss as his first goal for the club proved to be one for the history books.

Advancing from fullback he hit a wonderful swerving strike from outside the box with the outside of his foot that left Pyatov with no chance.

Sevilla were well on top of things as the Brazilian made it 5-3 on aggregate but Eduardo nearly pulled his side back into the game with a swift counter as he head a pinpoint Darijo Srna cross just wide of the post.

The last 20 minutes was an end-to-end affair, with Mircea Lucescu's men firmly chasing the game but Sevilla held on to record their 12th win in 13 home Europa League games and mark Emery's 100th European game as a coach in fine style with a place in the final alongside Premier League side Liverpool.

Reds make Europa League final

Liverpool recovered from a loss in the first leg to beat Villarreal 3-1 on aggregate in their Europa League semi-final at Anfield on Thursday.

  • Liverpool 3 Villarreal 0
  • Bruno scores own goal
  • Sturridge grabs the second
  • Ruiz sent off
  • Lallana secures progress to final

Match Summary

Villarreal's 1-0 lead from the first leg did not last long as Bruno had the ball in the back of his own net just seven minutes into the match.

Liverpool were comfortably the better side throughout the fixture and Daniel Sturridge put them ahead on aggregate with the second goal of the night in the 63rd minute.

The night went from bad to worse for the visitors as Victor Ruiz saw red in the 71st minute for a second bookable offence before Adam Lallana put the result beyond doubt when he scored the third 10 minutes later.

Full Report

Villarreal started well and Mario Gaspar forced a good save out of Simon Mignolet, but Liverpool responded well and, two minutes later, Bruno unluckily deflected a cross into his own net to bring the hosts level on aggregate.

Lallana wasted a glorious opportunity to put the Reds ahead on aggregate when he found some space in the area, but couldn't manage to hit the target with what looked to be an easy chance.

Liverpool continued to dominate possession throughout the first half but were limited to shots from long range.

After the break they had a bit more success breaking the visitors down and Sturridge had a shot blocked by Alphonse Areola in the 62nd minute before he was played in by Roberto Firmino a minute later and made no mistake this time time around to put the hosts 2-1 ahead on aggregate.

Victor Ruiz reduced his side's chances of coming back into the match to virtually zero when he received his marching orders after picking up a second yellow card in the 71st minute.

Firmino then showed his skill to skip past two defenders and into the box before unleashing a powerful low drive goalward, but Areola pulled off a miraculous reaction save to keep the ball out.

Lallana secured Liverpool's progress to the Europa League final in the 81st minute when he was played in one-on-one against the goalkeeper and coolly finished to put the Reds a 3-1 win on aggregate.

New injury setback for Gundogan

Ilkay Gundogan might not feature again for Borussia Dortmund this season after he suffered a knee injury, which has kept him out of training this week.

The Germany international has struggled with numerous injuries in the second half of the season, limiting him to just eight Bundesliga appearances since the turn of the year.

Indeed Gundogan has made only one league start in the past two months and last turned out for Thomas Tuchel's side in the DFB-Pokal semi-final win over Hertha Berlin on April 20 as a second-half substitute.

The 25-year-old midfielder is unlikely to be considered for the trip to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday after sitting out training this week with a minor knee problem, according to kicker, and could also miss the visit of FC Koln on the final day of the campaign.

Gundogan will be hoping to feature against Bayern Munich in the DFB-Pokal final on May 21 as Dortmund seek to prevent their arch-rivals from winning the domestic double this term.

Halilovic attracting world-class interest

Alen Halilovic's agent has revealed that world-class clubs from both England and Germany have expressed an interest in the Barcelona midfielder.

The 19-year-old has made just one appearance for the Catalan giants following his switch from Dinamo Zagreb in 2014 and is currently serving a season-long loan at La Liga rivals Sporting Gijon.

Halilovic has contributed three goals and five assists for Rojiblancos in 34 league outings, which has attracted the attentions of Villarreal, Sevilla and Valencia.

But his representative, Zoran Stojadinovic, claims there are also big clubs in the Premier League and the Bundesliga that want to sign the Croatia international, although Barca will wait until the season is over before they make a decision on his future.

"There is a real interest from two English clubs and two other Germans, all of them world-class," Stojadinovic told Goal.

"Barcelona will not address this issue until they finish the season. The desire of Alen is very clear; to go back to Barcelona, take minutes and score goals."

Three-match bans for Fellaini and Huth

The Football Association has issued three-match bans to Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini and Leicester defender Robert Huth for violent conduct.

The charges stem from an incident that occurred during the first half of the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford on Sunday, which had gone unnoticed by the referee at the time.

The FA took retrospective action against the duo after television replays showed Huth pulling Fellaini's hair before the Belgian retaliated by elbowing the German.

Fellaini will now miss United's final three games of the season against Norwich, West Ham and Bournemouth as Louis van Gaal's side make a last-ditch effort to qualify for the Champions League.

Huth, meanwhile, is unavailable for the visit of Everton and trip to Chelsea on the final day, while he will also play no part in next season's curtain raiser, the Community Shield.

A statement from English football's governing body read: "Marouane Fellaini and Robert Huth will both serve a three-match suspension with immediate effect after being charged with violent conduct which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video.

"The Manchester United midfielder and Leicester City defender were involved in a 21st-minute incident during their fixture on Sunday 1 May 2016.

"Both players accepted the charge. However, Huth contested that the standard penalty of a three-match suspension would be 'clearly excessive.'

"This claim, however, was rejected following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing today [May 5]."

Mosimane: We wanted more trophies

Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane is happy his side managed to clinch the Premiership and Telkom Knockout trophies this season, but feels they could have won more.

Mosimane bagged his second league title in three years with the Brazilians on Wednesday night and thanked club management for their support.

"First and foremost I have to thank the players for their job well done throughout the season," he told Goal.

"I also have to thank the technical team for their hard work and our physical trainer for keeping the players fit during a tough schedule but above all, the Sundowns board for entrusting the coaching job in me.

"It wasn't an easy season for us but we managed to reclaim the league title because we knew where the trophy was and we went for it.

"We will continue our work until the end knowing that we have done well with two trophies, though we wanted more. It's still a great job winning the big one, the league."