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Published: 20:46 | 5/5/16

Liverpool progress to Europa League final

Jurgen Klopp's side will meet Sevilla on 18 May in Basel

Liverpool sank Villarreal 3-0 at Anfield in the Europa League semi-final second leg to set up a mouth-watering clash with holders Sevilla in the final in Basel on 18 May.

The Reds outclassed an overawed Villarreal side to secure a comfortable 3-1 win on aggregate, and progress to a first European final since 2007.

Anfield nerves, which had gone through the ringer in the 4-3 Round of 16 second leg win over Borussia Dortmund, were almost immediately calmed when Bruno Soriano put through his own goal, then Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana netted in the second half to set up a final date with the Europa League holders at St Jakob Park in 13 days' time.

Although Liverpool, who were 2-0 down at Anfield after nine minutes against Dortmund, almost got off to another disastrous start against the Yellow Submarine.

Roberto Soldado, rebuilding his career in La Liga after two disastrous years at Tottenham, set up the chance with a clever chest down in the Liverpool area, but Reds' goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was down sharply to save Tomas Pina's low effort.

And just 60 seconds later, Liverpool opened the scoring, with Soriano putting through his own goal under pressure from Sturridge, as the pair stretched to get on the end of Roberto Firmino's pass across the six-yard box.

The goal energised both the Kop and Klopp, with the German bouncing around the technical area and employing the full Rafa Benitez repertoire of unintelligible hand gestures.

As the noise inside Anfield grew, Liverpool sensed another European glory night, and Nathaniel Clyne and James Milner were certainly swept up by the mood.

The pair's link-up play down the right was the catalyst for many a Liverpool attack, and the Reds' captain almost set up a second goal on 14 minutes with a wicked cross, only for Lallana to screw his shot wide of the target.

Can, man of the match against Dortmund until his evening was ended by an ankle injury, returned to the starting eleven for his first appearance since that famous night, and again impressed in the shielding role in front of the back four.

But this was a night where Liverpool needed to attack rather than simply contain, and it was Sturridge, so often vilified for his poor body language and his reluctance to play through pain, who rose to the occasion to net the crucial second on 62 minutes.

Villarreal goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, who had saved efforts from Coutinho, Milner and Sturridge in the opening moments of the second half, was left horribly exposed as Sturridge dropped off the shoulder of defender Mateo Musacchio to coolly finish from Firmino's threaded pass.

And after Villarreal went down to ten men following one hacking challenge too many from defender Victor Ruiz, Lallana reacted first to Sturridge's airkick from Firmino's cutback to net a third from close range in the 81st minute.

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