For the third time in five years, Liverpool is headed to the Champions League final, but it didn’t come easy.

In a topsy-turvy tale of two halves, Villarreal erased a two-goal aggregate deficit from Liverpool’s win at Anfield last week in the first leg before the Reds came storming back with three goals in the second half for a 5–2 aggregate triumph. 

Jürgen Klopp’s side continued its quest for a historic quadruple after facing down a wild crowd energized by Villarreal’s comeback at the Estadio de la Cerámica. Now, Liverpool will await the winner of Wednesday’s semifinal between Manchester City and Real Madrid. 

City takes its 4–3 aggregate lead into the Bernabéu, where either another matchup between Premier League powers or a rematch of the 2018 final will be set in stone.

Meanwhile, the Yellow Submarine’s Cinderella Champions League campaign came to an end after a giant-toppling journey that eliminated Juventus and Bayern Munich from the competition’s knockout stages. But for the first 45 minutes, Villarreal had its fans believing in a trip to Paris. 

It only took three minutes for Villarreal to heap the pressure on Liverpool. Boulaye Dia cut Liverpool’s aggregate lead in half after former Tottenham and Watford midfielder Étienne Capoue sent a perfect one-time cross through the area to Dia’s feet. 

Villarreal kept up the pressure as Liverpool struggled to get out of its own half throughout the first 15 minutes. 

However, in the 14th minute, the 2019 European champions nearly reestablished their lead when Thiago Alcântara’s long-distance shot sailed just over the goal.