Monday, May 22, 2017

Prediction: Liverpool vs Sevilla

Verdict: Liverpool to lift the trophy

Best Odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: bet365

St. Jakob-Park in Basel will be the setting for the 2015/2016 Europa League final, where Liverpool and Sevilla will not only be vying for the coveted title, but also for a Champions League berth they failed to secure via their respective league campaigns. And while los Rojiblancos are after their third EL title in a row, the Reds are searching for the first European trophy since 2005 and the iconic Istanbul final.

Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp’s first season at Anfield will not go down as a resounding success, but the German has clearly brought a new air of confidence to the club and team’s European performances have been nothing short of outstanding. This will definitely give the boss something to build on for the 2016/2017 season, when the Reds are expected to maybe even mount a serious title challenge in the Premier League. After it became clear that Liverpool would not be finishing anywhere near the top 4 positions, Klopp decided to shift his focus towards the Europa League campaign and that proved to be a very good move. The Reds impressed to beat Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and Villarreal on the road to the final, and it has to be noted that these were the teams that had harboured title hopes before they were pitted against Liverpool. Those impressive performances can give the Reds plenty of confidence ahead of the all-important clash in Basel, while the return of several key men is likely to provide another major boost. And with Liverpool losing just one fixture in this year’s campaign, they might just be able to end an 11-year wait for a European trophy.

Team News

Striker Divock Origi has resumed training after recovering from an ankle injury and he is in the squad, although chances are Daniel Sturridge will keep his place.

Captain Jordan Henderson returned into action at the weekend, but he will have to settle for a place on the bench as well.

Sevilla

Sevilla are already the most successful side in the competition, but they can now make it three Europa League trophies on the bounce if they defeat Liverpool. Similar to their next opponents, los Rojiblancos made the European campaign their priority after Villarreal got away in the race for the final Champions League berth in La Liga. The shocking away record is the main reason why Sevilla have failed to challenge for top 4 positions in domestic championship, with Unai Emery’s charges the only side to have failed to win an away game this season. Los Rojiblancos also lost all three matches on the road in this year’s Champions League campaign, while winning just one of four Europa League fixtures on the travels. This is enough to suggest they could find it hard to match Liverpool at St. Jakob-Park in Basel, although having won last two finals, they remain the team to beat. Unai Emery managed to rest his key men in heavy defeats to Granada and Athletic Bilbao, but it remains to be seen whether they will be rusty in the Europa League final after a two-week break from action.

Team News

The likes of Michael Krohn-Dehli, Marco Andreolli and Benoit Tremoulinas are definitely out of contention, while there are doubts over the fitness of several players.

Even if they are in the squad, Diogo, Nicolas Pareja, Mariano and Federico Fazio are all set for fitness tests having struggled through injury of late.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Sevilla are after their third successive Europa League trophy
  • The two sides will meet for the first time in a competitive fixture
  • Sevilla have failed to win a La Liga game on the road (D9 L10)
  • Neither team have lost a Europa League (UEFA Cup) final
  • Liverpool suffered one defeat in 14 EL games this term (W6 D7)

Conclusion

Liverpool have seriously raised their form of late and they have been impressive in Europa League this season, so we believe they can end Sevilla’s amazing run. Los Rojiblancos largely struggle when they leave Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan and they are not exactly in the best form at the moment.

Verdict: Liverpool to lift the trophy

Best Odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: bet365

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