Roberto Soldado can prove a point to the whole of English football against Liverpool

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A year ago when Liverpool played Tottenham, the last thing on their minds was stopping Roberto Soldado.

To say the Spaniard's time at Spurs was disappointing would be a huge understatement. After racking up a goal ratio of over a goal every two games at Valencia, he went on to muster just two from open play in his first season in north London.

Off the field, Soldado had personal battles to contend with as he desperately struggled for form, hoping to settle at the club who had shown such faith in him.


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Yet, he proved to be yet another case of an imported striker whose perseverance in the Premier League never paid off.

Changing roles

Within months, he had unwittingly become the epitome of Tottenham's failed transfer policy, the embodiment of wasted money acquired from Gareth Bale's transfer fee.

He could be forgiven for never wanting to set foot on English soil again, but he now has a chance to redeem himself when his Villarreal side go head-to-head with Liverpool in the Europa League semi-final.

The Reds may be favourites, but they should not underestimate the Yellow Submarine, particularly with Soldado in form.

He is no longer the goal-scoring machine he was at Valencia, with manager Marcelino García Toral moving him to more of a supporting role. Nonetheless, he still has 7 goals in all competitions this season - one more than at Spurs when he was an out-and-out forward.

Perhaps fittingly, Villarreal are a team who do not score many goals. They rely heavily on their nigh-on impenetrable defence, but of the goals they do score, the 30-year-old has assisted 8 of them. That's close to a quarter of their goals all season.


This will be the third Europa League semi-final Soldado has played in, though his record is little cause for optimism as he has lost the other two.

But this time, he could be the man to upset the odds and take Villarreal to the final. After all, underdog status has never bothered the La Liga outfit.

Despite having a population of just over 50,000 people, making them the second smallest town to have had a team in Europe, they have been in and around the Champions League and Europa League for quite some time.

Overcoming Liverpool will be a hugely difficult task for them, undoubtedly, but it is not one that is out of the question.

And Soldado will arrive at Anfield in the knowledge that this is his chance to prove a point to the whole of English football.

Who will reach the final - Liverpool or Villarreal? Have your say in the comments. 

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Steven Gerrard
Premier League
Europa League
Philippe Coutinho

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