I’m positively stunned that Unai Emery has started Samu Chukwueze at Anfield, but the decision speaks both to confidence that Emery has in him as well as his intent to threaten the Liverpool defense. Pervis Estupinan returns as the left back, and he has really, in my opinion, proven he was well worth the fee laid out for him. Juan Foyth backs up Samu, and that should be a source of strength. This is a lineup produced with full intent to compete.
Luis Diaz and Jordan Henderson both start for Liverpool FC in the only two positions that may have been in doubt in their selection. The rest is what has proven itself to be their first choice selection. Thiago and Fabinho are both excellent in possession, and it will be incumbent upon Parejo and Capoue to frustrate them and keep them from getting any incisive passes.
The main Liverpool creative threat tends to come from the fullbacks, and hopefully Samu’s presence will keep Robertson pinned back a bit, While Coquelin’s main role in this setup seems to be slowing down Trent Alexander-Arnold.
On each flank Unai Emery has paired one defensive oriented player with one offensive oriented player, and I am curious to see whether this results in a perfect balance or some sort of jack of all trades, master of none scenario. Settle in for plenty of time defending, not much of the ball dominance you see from us in league play, and a few flashes of excitement from the Villarreal side. Hopefully, one or more of those flashes results in a goal.