A huge night awaits both Liverpool and Sevilla in Basel as the two sides go to war in the Europa League Final.
The Spaniards will be looking to make history by winning the competition three years on the spin whilst Liverpool are aiming to win a major European trophy for the first time since their heroics in Istanbul eleven years ago.
Jurgen Klopp will want to reward the supporters of Liverpool with a trophy after a disappointing eighth place finish, but in their way stands Sevilla and Unai Emery, who will be looking to oversee his side’s third win successful final after wins over Dnipro and Benfica.
Both teams have had scintillating runs in the tournament, with Sevilla scoring 14 goals and Liverpool netting 12 in the four knockout rounds so far – the pick of which was Liverpool’s 5-4 aggregate win over Klopp’s former club, Borussia Dortmund.
Victory against Sevilla is their only chance of qualifying for Europe next season, which could be pivotal in attracting big-name players to help Jurgen Klopp rebuild his squad.
Jurgen Klopp has seemingly prioritised the Europa League with the incentive of winning the competition granting Champions League football, something that was out of Liverpool’s reach in the Premier League.
Although the German is more than aware of the task ahead if Liverpool are to prevail in Basel:
“I expect it to be intense, of course. There will be challenges all over the pitch, there will be a lot of fight. You cannot win a cup with just ‘a little bit of playing football.’ You have to show that you’re really ready for the big moments.”
If Liverpool are to push on next season under Klopp, Champions League is paramount to attracting those big players. Despite Klopp having the name, it won’t be enough with City, Arsenal and Spurs especially in the Europe’s elite competition.
There is a feel good factor around Anfield right now with success in this competition at the forefront of that, the relationship between Klopp and the supporters has been made stronger with the victories and performances over rivals Man United former club Borussia Dortmund and Villarreal.
Sevilla have a similar incentive after a disappointing campaign where they missed out not only on the Champions League places but Europa League football as well, so the need for Unai Emery to win in Switzerland is just as great.
Despite Sevilla’s seemingly poor season domestically, they’ve have beaten the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and fourth placed Villarreal, letting themselves down against sides in the bottom half of the table. Further proof that their league position should be no indicator on how tough a game Liverpool face is the fact they also beat Serie A champions Juventus in the Champions League group stages too.
Experience lies with Sevilla after featuring in the final for the past two seasons however the exuberance and energy of Klopp could be pivotal, it’s been a key component in their run especially against Dortmund where they kept at it until the final whistle.
The key battle will be in the middle of the field; the Spaniards will no doubt want to dictate play through Ever Banega pulling the strings for the likes of Vitolo, Vicente Iborra and highly regarded winger Yevhen Konoplyanka.
In recent weeks we’ve seen cohesion and an understanding in the midfield for Liverpool with Emre Can and James Milner occupying the deeper roles whilst Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana have supplied for Daniel Sturridge.
Liverpool’s Divock Origi has made the squad and will be hopeful he will feature after recovering from an ankle injury in April, while captain Jordan Henderson is expected to return to the bench at least after making a 27-minute cameo in Liverpool’s final league game against West Brom on Sunday.
Mamadou Sakho will miss the final however following a 30-day ban from Uefa regarding an alleged doping violation.
Sevilla’s Michael Krohn-Dehli is out of action following a knee injury during the semis against Shakhtar Donetsk, and Jose Antonio Reyes is unavailable after undergoing appendix surgery last month.