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Starting line-ups: Atletico Madrid V Bayern Munich


Villarreal boss confident of beating Liverpool

Villarreal manager Marcelino insists his side are more than equal to Europa League favourites Liverpool and hopes the visitors "suffer" at El Madrigal.

The Reds' dramatic win to put out Borussia Dortmund in the last round immediately made Jurgen Klopp's team top of the betting to lift the trophy in Basle next month.

Marcelino believes Villarreal are a match for Liverpool. Credit: PA

But Marcelino believes Villarreal, fourth in La Liga but 20 points behind third-placed Real Madrid, are a match.

"Liverpool might be the favourite - the club, their history and the fact that they knocked out Borussia Dortmund all add up - but we don't consider ourselves to be less than them," he told a press conference ahead of their semi-final first leg.

"We are going to give everything from our side to eliminate this legendary team.

"We don't have any pressure on us. I'm really satisfied with and grateful to this squad for getting to this semi-final.

"We are very hopeful and convinced that we are capable of beating Liverpool, and all the while we'll be enjoying the occasion.

"I felt more pressure in the previous knockout ties. We have the chance to make history at this club now.

"If we manage to enjoy the match and do the things we know how to do I think they're going to suffer a lot at our ground."

Simeone to miss La Liga run-in with three-game ban

Simeone has insisted he did not throw the ball. Credit: PA

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has been banned for the final three matches of the Primera Division season after he was sent to the stands during his side's win over Malaga.

The Argentinian was dismissed after an extra ball was thrown onto the pitch, seemingly from the vicinity of the Atletico bench, which disrupted a Malaga attack.

Simeone has insisted he did not throw the ball, but admitted the referee was right to order him from the touchline.

On Wednesday the Spanish Football Federation announced a three-game ban for the 45-year-old, meaning he will be missing from the dugout for the matches against Rayo Vallecano, Levante and Celta Vigo.

Saturday's win over Malaga kept Atletico firmly in the title mix. They are level on points with leaders Barcelona and one clear of Real Madrid.

Simeone, who has the right to appeal the punishment, was also fined 3,005 euros (£2,330) and the club 1,050 euros (£815).

Atletico face Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday night.

Facebook Football Awards Best XI: full backs

Fuchs is enjoying one hell of a season. Credit: Oulala

Christian Fuchs, Hector Bellerin, Kyle Walker and Charlie Daniels are the four full backs shortlisted to make Premier League Best XI at this year’s Facebook Football Awards

The awards allow you, the fans, to choose your Best XI on ITV Football's Facebook page, with the team announced live during the awards show on May 9th.

We’ve asked Oulala for some keys stats, as a way of helping you decide which of the four full backs above deserve to be included in your team.

Leicester City are on the cusp of pulling off one of the greatest achievements we've ever seen in football, and their Austrian full back Fuchs has outperformed his rivals in three of the four areas listed above.

Fuchs has won more tackles, pulled off a greater number of interceptions and created more chances than Bellerin, Walker or Daniels, while only falling short when it comes to successful take-ons.


Liverpool defender won't challenge drug test results

Sakho is unlikely to play again this season. Credit: PA

Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho has decided not to challenge the results of his failed drugs test.

The France international opted not to request his B sample be tested ahead of Tuesday's deadline after his initial test revealed traces of a fat-burning substance.

The France international was left out of Saturday's draw with Newcastle after it emerged UEFA has flagged up an apparent anti-doping violation relating to a banned substance as a result of a test following the Europa League tie at Manchester United last month.

Liverpool have refused to comment on Sakho's situation as allegations relate to the player only and they are unlikely to change this stance until the defender and UEFA have resolved the matter.

Sakho was not on the team's flight on Wednesday lunchtime for their Europa League semi-final first leg in Villarreal as it is understood the club and the player have jointly agreed he will remain unavailable for selection during this process.

Stats: Proof that Jurgen Klopp has improved Liverpool

The league table may not give too much away but these stats from Oulala suggest Jurgen Klopp's impact at Liverpool has been greater than many people give him credit for.

Liverpool are a different team under Jurgen Klopp. Credit: Oulala

The Reds were 10th when Klopp took over back in October 2015 and currently sit 7th in the Premier League table.

They may have jumped up three places in that time, but the gap to fourth spot has actually widened since Klopp's arrival, with Liverpool now nine points adrift having trailed Leicester by just three in October.

Liverpool have seen considerable improvement since the turn of 2016, however, when Klopp started to get his message across having worked with the players for over two months.

Compared with the four months leading up to 2016, Liverpool now average a goal every 38 minutes as opposed to one every 78 minutes. The team's shot conversion rate has doubled from 7% to 14%, and their shot accuracy has also improved slightly from 45% to 52%.

Will we see further improvements from Liverpool next season? Where will they finish under Klopp in 2016/17? Let us know @ITVFootball

RB Leipzig turned down Jamie Vardy in 2014

The coach and sporting director of RB Leipzig Ralf Rangnick has claimed he turned down the chance to sign Jamie Vardy two years ago - because the Leicester striker was too old.

Ralf Rangnick could have signed Jamie Vardy two years ago. Credit: PA

Vardy has scored 22 goals in 34 Premier League appearances for leaders Leicester this season, but the 29-year-old might have been playing in the German second tier had Rangnick refused to sign players over a certain age.

"We desperately wanted to sign Joe Gomez, who later chose Liverpool, and we were flying back from London to Leipzig with his agent," Rangnick told Sport Bild magazine.

"In the plane, the agent said to me 'Mr Rangnick, it's a crying shame that you are so radical about who you sign and only go for players who are under 24 because I've got somebody who would be just perfect for you. I can guarantee he would become a national team player under you, but he's already 27 and he's also spent time in prison after a little fight.'

"It was Jamie Vardy."

Rangnick recalled himself replying: "No, he's 27 - we're not doing it."

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