Samuel Chukwueze was in action for Villarreal in their Champions League clash against Liverpool, but it was the Reds that took home the win, courtesy of a brilliant play between Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
Chukwueze silenced as Mane and Salah help Liverpool edge past Villarreal
The Super Eagles winger featured from the start at Anfield, but he was overshadowed by Liverpool's African stars.
Chukwueze's Champions League Final dream
Having scored the goal that knocked Bayern Munich out in the quarter-final, Chukwueze revealed his desire to reach the final ahead of the game, but it was obvious Villarreal would find it difficult to get a result at Anfield.
Chukwueze silenced but stubborn Villarreal deny Liverpool
The game started with Villarreal sitting deep and Liverpool dominating possession. Villarreal's approach appeared to work as Jurgen Klopp's failed to break down the Yellow Submarines' low block.
The Reds had just two shots on target, which were comfortably dealt with by Geronimo Rulli in Villarreal's goal. However, Villarreal's setup did not help Chukwueze, who struggled to make an impact on the game.
The Super Eagles winger played 72 minutes of the encounter, managing just 14 touches and four passes. Nonetheless, the plan worked as Liverpool could not find a breakthrough in the opening half.
Villarreal finally bowed to Liverpool's pressure
The second half resumed in a similar fashion, with Villarreal sitting deep. However, it was only a matter of time before their resistance was broken.
And it took Liverpool only eight minutes after the break to find a way through Villarreal's defence. The Reds took the lead courtesy of an own goal from Pervis Estupiñán, whose touch from Henderson flew past Ruili.
Mane and Salah combine again
The goal opened the game up a bit, with Liverpool doubling their advantage minutes later through Mane. The Senegal star toe-poked home a perfectly-weighted pass from Salah to double Liverpool's advantage in the 55th-minute.
Mane's goal wrapped up the match for Liverpool. Villarreal manager Unai Emery reacted by making a couple of changes, but it was Liverpool that went close to adding a third.
The Reds, however, were unable to find a third goal. Nonetheless, they will take a two-goal lead into the second leg at the Estadio la ceramica next week.