Liverpool handed boost with Gerard Moreno set to miss Champions League semi-final

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It looked like a quiet night for Villarreal. Ideal, even. They went into half time against Getafe with the game in the bag and looked to be avoiding any Champions League hangover, but in just a few minutes the situation was turned upside down.

After the restart, and in the blink of an eye, Getafe reduced the deficit and, what’s worse, Gerard Moreno asked to be substituted when he felt some muscular discomfort. This set off all the alarm bells at the club. The worst possible news at one of the most exciting periods in Villarreal’s history.

With just over a week to go until the Champions League semi-final against Liverpool, the Catalan forward’s presence is now in doubt. He has already suffered as many as five injuries this season.

Villarreal announced that Gerard had to withdraw due to hamstring discomfort and is now waiting for the results of tests. Unai Emery’s words after the match didn’t suggest much optimism, either.

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“It’s a muscular injury,” Emery said. “We’ll see how serious it is. We thought we had dealt well with his last injury, but it wasn’t to be and he’s had a setback again. We’ll have to work with patience.”

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Gerard’s issues began on September 2 with the Spanish national team, when he picked up an injury against Sweden. The player reappeared 11 days later and was injured again, this time sidelined for almost a month.

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His satisfaction of returning to the field was short-lived, as he lasted just three games. On October 23, against Athletic Club, Gerard broke down again. It was a major injury that kept him out for almost 40 days. In December he reappeared and on January 16 he was back on the treatment tables, facing a fourth injury and 20 more days out.

At the beginning of February, away at Real Betis, he relapsed with what was his fifth injury of the season. Villarreal decided to leave him out for more than a month in order to complete a specific plan to avoid further setbacks. Now comes a new issue at the most important point of the season.

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Gerard, who since his return had been a key player in the Champions League ties against Juventus and Bayern Munich, had again found the net in the LaLiga Santander, where he had not scored since January 3, when he scored a brace against Levante. Since then injuries had allowed him to make just four starts in the league.

He scored the opening goal against Getafe before being injured, too.

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