Super Eagles winger Samuel Chukwueze cage in Anfield as Liverpool beat Villarreal 2-0 to take a two-goal lead into next week’s second leg of the UEFA Champions League in Spain.

A game that was never likely to match the excitement of Tuesday’s seven-goal thriller between Manchester City and Real Madrid finally came to life in the second half as an own goal from Pervis Estupinan and a Sadio Mane strike sealed a strong first-leg advantage for the Reds.

Liverpool dominated throughout, overwhelming Villarreal with their speed, intensity, and quality.

Villarreal’s defensive excellence frustrated Liverpool at times in the first half, even though Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara hit the post.

Henderson’s cross deflected in off Pervis Estupinan in the 53rd minute, and two minutes later Sadio Mane poked Mohamed Salah’s clever pass into the net from close range.

Chukwueze who was instrumental when the Yellow Submarine dumped Bayern Munich out of the tournament in the second leg of the last eight was replaced by Boulaye Dia in the 72 minutes of the encounter after he failed to impress.

Villarreal, who didn’t have a single shot on target, were happy to get away from Anfield without further damage.

Liverpool travel to Newcastle United on Saturday as they resume their title chase in the Premier League, while Villarreal are away to Deportivo Alaves on the same day.

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