On another magical night at Anfield, Liverpool secured their place in the Europa League final with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Villarreal.
Jurgen Klopp’s men trailed their visitors by a goal to nil heading into the highly-anticipated second leg but delivered in some style to ensure their European dream lives on.
An own goal from Villarreal’s Bruno Soriano in the opening ten minutes handed Liverpool their equaliser on aggregate before Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana struck to record a memorable win.
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Wild celebrations ensued upon the final whistle, with Jurgen Klopp and his mighty Reds parading the Anfield turf and sharing the moment with their fans.
However, such celebration was short-lived for one player - goalscorer Sturridge.
The England international’s goal came as a huge relief after being left out by manager Klopp in the first leg, so his euphoric reaction to scoring his side’s second and all-important goal was entirely justified.
Yet his celebrations were cut short when he was asked to leave his teammates to undertake a routine drugs test.
Sturridge then posted a video onto Instagram of him in an empty Liverpool dressing room (see below).
How’s your luck. Instead of joining his jubilant peers, the 26-year-old was forced to sit in an examination room and prove he hasn’t been doping.
The untimely disruption wouldn’t have angered Sturridge too much given the circumstances - Liverpool are one game away from being crowned Europa League champions.
Asked for his thoughts on the performance after the game, per the Daily Mail, he told BT Sport: “Fans were top class and for the boys, it was about soaking up the atmosphere and putting in a performance.
“We had to work our socks off but we got the result we needed. I’m grateful to God for all that I’ve been bless with and in football there’s always going to be ups and downs.
“It’s about putting your body on the line. If you don’t take shots, you don’t score. Scoring goals for me is a great feeling. We like to press and we like to be in opposition faces.”
Champions League football is now within sight for Klopp’s Reds. Domestically they’ve been inconsistent and - at times - underwhelming, but they’ve performed admirably in Europe.
A huge test now awaits them in Sevilla, not just because the La Liga outfit are eyeing a third-straight Europa League title, but because a neutral stadium will be picked.
Anfield’s atmosphere undoubtedly played a huge role in Liverpool’s quarter-final and semi-final comebacks, so the club’s fans will have to ensure they recreate such a buzz when they cheer their side on to Europa success.
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