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Liverpool Europa opponents Villarreal are like Leicester, they even have a Jamie Vardy

Sky Sports commentator Rob Palmer believes that Villarreal are very similar to Premier League surprise packages Leicester City.

Liverpool have been drawn against the Spanish side in the semi-finals of the Europa League with the first leg of the encounter to take place at El Madrigal on Thursday night.

Palmer has been closely following Villarreal over the past few years and ahead of the clash, has stated his belief that the La Liga high-flyers are the Spanish equivalent of Premier League champions-elect Leicester and they even have a Jamie Vardy of their own in the form of Cedric Bakambu.

Palmer told the Liverpool Echo: "They're a good team, very tidy. To me, there are comparisons with Leicester City. Like Leicester, Villarreal perform beyond their budget and expectations, they play 4-4-2 without any real superstars in the team, they're well organised at the back and strong in midfield.

"The guy who has been getting all their goals this season, Cedric Bakambu, is someone I would liken to Jamie Vardy too. He's fast, he's eager, he chases lost causes and makes a nuisance of himself.

"He was signed from Bursaspor in Turkey, but wasn't really well known. He'd had a spell in France with Sochaux, but not pulled up many trees. Since joining Villarreal, though, he's gone on a level. He's been brilliant.

"Roberto Soldado plays alongside him. We never saw the best of him in England with Spurs, but his record in Spain has always been good. He was very good at Getafe and Valencia, and also for the Spanish national team.

"He plays up with Bakambu, and he's the wise man of the partnership. He doesn't score as many goals, but he takes up smart positions which allow the younger man to come flying through. They're good. It's like Leicester, it's not rocket science."

Sarad Bade Shrestha
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Sarad Shrestha

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