With Liverpool awaiting, how have Villarreal fared against Premier League sides?

The Yellow Submarine will hope to sink the Reds in tonight's Europa League semi-final first leg

Villarreal, Arsenal, Juan Roma Riquleme, Jens Lehmann

Arsenal's German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, left, saves a penalty from Villarreal's Argentine player Juan Roman Riquelme during their Champions League semi-final second leg soccer match against Villarreal, at El Madrigal stadium, in Villarreal, Spain, Tuesday April 25, 2006. Arsenal were drawn Friday March 20, 2009 to play against Villarreal in a Champions League quarterfinal. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

For a club of their size, Villarreal's record in La Liga and Europe is remarkable.

The Valencian side are from the town of Vila-Real which has a population of just over 50,000 people, who could all fit comfortably into Anfield when it gets its expanded main stand.

As the club prepares for a Europa League clash against Anfield's residents Liverpool, one has to recognise that the club are old hands at this level of competition. 

One penalty kick from reaching the Champions League final in 2006, they are regulars on the European stage, despite the fact that there are more historic clubs in Spain who regularly fail to maintain such a level.

The Yellow Submarine, as they are nicknamed because of their playing strip with a nod to Liverpudlian legends The Beatles' famous tune, have often faced English clubs in the Champions League and Europa League.

But how have they fared in those head-to-heads?

 Champions League 2005-06

On the way to their fairytale run to the Champions League semi-finals that season, Manuel Pellegrini's team met Everton, Manchester United and Arsenal along the way, as well as Scotland's Rangers.

Everton, who had finished fourth in the previous season's Premier League to qualify for the Champions League third qualifying stage were drawn against Villarreal for a place in the lucrative group stages.

But David Moyes' side fell short, losing 4-2 on aggregate. However, there was some controversy as the man often cited as the greatest referee of them all, Pierluigi Collina, ruled out a late Duncan Ferguson header in the second leg that would have taken the tie to extra-time, before Diego Forlan's late winner.

Villarreal's reward was a group draw featuring a Manchester United going through a leaner period, Benfica and Lille.

In a low-scoring effort which saw Pellegrini's team score just three goals in their six group games, Villarreal progressed top of the group, conceding just once in a 1-1 draw with Benfica.

Manchester United failed to get out of what appeared to be relatively straight-forward pool on paper, drawing 0-0 home and away with the La Liga side.

After beating Rangers and Inter Milan on away goals in the last-16 and quarter-finals, Arsenal stood between Juan Riquelme and co and a place in the Champions League final in Paris.

The Gunners would prevail - just about. After a 0-0 draw at the Madrigal, a single goal for Arsene Wenger's side was enough at Highbury.

But Riquelme also saw a late penalty saved by Jens Lehmann which would have led Villarreal to another away goals triumph and more importantly a place in the final.

Still, reaching the last-four in their first true crack at Europe was an almighty achievement.

 Champions League 2008-09

Villarreal would be reacquainted with both Man United and Arsenal again three years later. Drawn in a group with reigning champions United once again, the side which had just finished second in Spain the previous season, again held Ferguson's team to goalless draws home and away to leave the aggregate record standing at a remarkable 0-0 over 360 minutes of action.

United topped that group by a point, while Villarreal did enough with the two weakest teams in the group, Celtic and Aalborg to progress.

After dispatching Panathanaikos in the last-16, the quarter-finals saw them face Arsenal again.

Brazil-born Spain international midfielder, Marcos Senna gave Villarreal a 10th minute lead but Emmanuel Adebayor's brilliant and crucial second half goal gave Arsenal an away goal and Wenger's side completed the job in the second leg at the Emirates with a 3-0 triumph which saw Theo Walcott, Adebayor and Robin van Persie score.

It's the last time, Villarreal faced an English side in European competition, although they have qualified for the Europa League either side of their 2013 relegation and subsequent promotion back to La Liga.

And they look close to to getting back into the Champions League qualifiers next season, even if they don't win the Europa League, because they currently occupy fourth place in La Liga, four points clear of Celta Vigo with just three games to go. Liverpool will know they are up against an outstanding side.

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