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Sevilla experience counts for little in Europa League final – Barnes

Liverpool legend John Barnes says Sevilla’s back-to-back Europa League titles do not necessarily make them favourites for Wednesday’s final in Basle.

Sevilla are on the verge of completing a remarkable treble after getting the better of Benfica and Dnipro in 2014 and 2015 respectively and would become the first team in the history of Europe’s secondary club competition to triumph three times in a row.

But Barnes insists Liverpool have every chance of halting Sevilla’s run in the competition, having seen off Borussia Dortmund and Villarreal in the last two rounds.

“It’s a final – anything can happen,” the former England international told Omnisport at a Show Racism the Red Card charity match. “[They’re] two good teams.

“Obviously Sevilla have won it for the last two years. Are they favourites? No. Would I make Liverpool favourites? Possibly slightly, but I would have made Dortmund favourites over Liverpool and they went through.

“It’s a one-off and anything can happen.

“The best thing is that we are there and it gives an opportunity, most importantly, of going to the Champions League if we can win it.

“Their [Sevilla’s] league form isn’t great. Yes they have the experience of winning it for the last two years, but they’ll be under pressure to win it because it’s a final.

“I don’t think anybody really has an advantage.”

Jordan Henderson was named in Roy Hodgson’s provisional England squad for Euro 2016 on Monday after making his return from just over one month out with a knee injury as a 64th-minute substitute in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against West Brom.

But Barnes has reservations about including the Liverpool captain from the start against Sevilla.

“He is [important] if he’s a fit Jordan Henderson,” the 52-year-old added. “Will he [manager Jurgen Klopp] take a chance and risk him in the final having not played for a long time if he’s not 100 per cent?

“If he is 100 per cent but he hasn’t had match fitness, will he take that decision? It may be a little bit too soon for Jordan.”

Tue 17 May, 2016
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