Liverpool are finally back in Champions League action today, for the first time since 2014 the Reds will take the field at Anfield in the most prestigious footballing tournament in the world. Unfortunately, we go up against Sevilla, our nemesis from the 2016 Europa League final. After a 3-1 drubbing at their hands in Switzerland back last year, hopefully, Jurgen’s bastard Reds will be hungry for revenge. Well, except Alby Moreno who is Seville through and through. Coming off the back of a, let’s say, disappointing game last weekend, it is imperative that Liverpool step it up and show what they are made of when they tangle with Europe’s elite.
Despite getting shown a straight red card against Manchester City and having his ban upheld by the FA, Sadio Mane is available for Liverpool in the Champions League as the ban does not carry over into European competition. Philippe Coutinho is expected to be back into the squad after his summer tantrum, and with Mohamed Salah questionable for the game following his recent illness, we might even see O Magico come straight back into the squad. Other than that, no team injury news to report other than Nathaniel Clyne and Adam Lallana remaining out.
Loris Karius will also be preferred to Simon Mignolet in goal tonight, as per Jurgen Klopp at last night’s presser.
Team news for Seville seems scarce and hard to find, all I can say for definite is the summer signings Nolito and Johannes Geis will be out with injury, other than that, I believe it to be a full-strength squad for Los Rojiblancos.
As previously mentioned, Loris Karius will come in for Mignolet in goal, and I also think that this will be one of a few defensive changes from the side that leaked five goals at the Etihad on Saturday. I personally think that we could see starts for young full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, with perhaps Joe Gomez taking Ragnar Klavan’s spot, although, this would leave Dejan Lovren out in the dark. The front three picks itself if Salah is fit, but if he’s out, there’s the dilemma of whether or not Phil comes straight in to replace him.
Liverpool: Loris Karius, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren, Andy Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Emre Can, Gini Wijnaldum, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho.
Sevilla: Sergio Rico, Gabriel Mercado, Simon Kjaer, Clement Lenglet, Sergio Escudero, Steven N’zonzi, Jesus Navas, Ganso, Ever Banega, Pablo Sarabia, Wissam Ben Yedder.
Liverpool: Jordan Henderson
Our captain is going to be so influential to the way that today’s game unfolds, if he can control the game like we have seen him control games in the past then Liverpool will be in good stead. If he can once again find his amazing passing range that we saw before he went out with injury midway through last season, then Liverpool could be on the right course to get all three points against the Spanish outfit. However, if Henderson plays like he has recently, then players like Ever Banega and Jesus Navas are going to have an obscene level of freedom on the football pitch, and this is something that simply cannot happen if Liverpool are wanting to come away from this evening with a W.
Sevilla: Steven N’Zonzi
I am actually a massive fan of the Frenchman known as N’Zonzi. He has the physicality and ability to fill the defensive midfield role with ease. Plus, he’s made everyone forget that Steven played for Blackburn and Stoke. He will play a similar role to that of our captain, but if N’Zonzi fails to perform, it could be more catastrophic for the Spanish side. If Can, Wijnaldum and Firmino get the better of N’Zonzi then it could signify the demise of the Sevilla team.
I’m never going to do this again, but based off my prediction for the Manchester City game and my lack of accurate predictions lately, I’m going to say 3-1 to Sevilla, with it being an exact repeat of the 2016 Europa League final. Liverpool will struggle to create chances against the defensively apt Seville side.
What I actually mean is that Liverpool are going to win 4-0 and silence all the doubters but never mind about that.
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