Venue – Anfield
Referee – Danny Makkelie (Netherlands)
Date & Time – 13th September 2017 @ 19:45 BST
It’s amazing the effect that football can have on you. In the aftermath of Saturday’s collapse at the Etihad Stadium, it has taken me the best part of two days to finally gather myself enough to write this match preview. I guess “deflated” is the best way to describe how I’ve felt since Sadio Mané collided with Ederson and the rest of the team seemed to lose their collective shit right before our eyes. Yes – it’s tough going a man down and City are a great attacking unit – but 5-0?! Come on!!
I’m sure, like us fans, the Reds will be hurting. Their professional pride has been dented. No team likes to let that kind of rot set in for any longer than necessary. That’s why a European night at Anfield against a team with whom we have a relatively recent score to settle may just be the tonic that Klopp and co need.
The La Liga side, Sevilla, are now under their second different coach since Unai Emery left for PSG after overseeing the 3-1 victory for his team in that 2016 Europa League final. However, they are still very capable of posing many problems for opponents, as they proved by finishing 4th in the Spanish top tier last season. Jorge Sampaoli had replaced Emery but he himself was succeeded by fellow Argentine, Eduardo Berizzo, during the past summer. They have only five players remaining at the club from the eleven that started that final 15 months ago. Most notably, their goalscorers that night, Kevin Gameiro and Coke are now at Atletico Madrid and Schalke, respectively.
Liverpool had started the season in good form. A couple of run-of-the-mill results against Watford and Crystal Palace were complemented by outstanding attacking displays against both Hoffenheim and Arsenal. Last Saturday, however, was a different story. City could have won by more than five as Liverpool seemed to not have any readily available answer for going a man down in the first half. Wednesday night is the chance for Klopp and his men to get back on track.
Sevilla have taken seven from nine available points to start this season off in La Liga. Like Liverpool, Sevilla also came through the playoff round to get to the group stages. They defeated Turkish outfit, Istanbul Basaksehir, 4-3 on aggregate.
Jesus Navas and Nolito, both formerly of Manchester City, are now playing for Sevilla. Steven N’Zonzi will also be a familiar face to Liverpool fans from his time at Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City.
There have been reports in the last week or so that Loris Karius will serve as Klopp’s first-choice between the sticks for the Champions League this season. It will be interesting to see if this is indeed the case on Wednesday night. Sadio Mané’s suspension for the red card last weekend will only affect games in English competition so he will be available for Klopp’s selection.Nathaniel Clyne was not registered for the Champions League group stages due to an ongoing back problem. Danny Ings and Adam Lallana are also out due to injury.
Philippe Coutinho may well return to the first-team setup for this game. I would expect him to make the bench for this game.
Klopp will most likely rotate some of the starting eleven and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gomez, Robertson, Lovren, and Milner come into the team.
Sevilla have David Soria (goalkeeper in the 2016 EL final), Nolita, Johannes Geis and Nico Pareja on their injury list. Berizzo seems to favour a 4-1-4-1 shape for Sevilla, with Wissam Ben Yedder up front.
Liverpool XI – Karius, Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Robertson, Henderson, Milner, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mané
Sevilla XI – Rico, Mercado, Kjaer, Lenglet, Escudero, N’Zonzi, Navas, Ganso, Banega, Sarabia, Yedder
When they last met
The 3-1 victory for Sevilla in the 2016 Europa League final is the only meeting there has ever been between these sides.
It’s always hard to predict the outcome of a game immediately following a bizarre result like last Saturday’s 5-0 destruction in Manchester. However, I think the fact that it is a home match where the Reds fans can help their team to heal their wounds just about swings it in Liverpool’s favour for me.