A single point will be enough to see Liverpool qualify for the knockout stages of this season’s Champions League and a win will see the Reds top the group. However, it probably won’t be that simple for Jurgen Klopp’s Redmen as they travel to Seville to take on a very able Sevilla side away from home. A tough fought 2-2 draw was the result when these two sides met at Anfield earlier on this season, with Joe Gomez being sent off to boot. Here’s our look at European Match-Day 5;
Liverpool are agonisingly close to having a full fit squad but there always seems to be a few little niggling injuries getting in the way of that happening, plus the long term absence of Nathaniel Clyne. This time round, it’s the seemingly injury prone, Joel Matip who has not travelled with the squad for the game in Seville. The Cameroonian also missed Liverpool’s impressive 3-0 win over Southampton on the weekend and has left fans fearing for their sanity with Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan being employed as a defensive duo.
Elsewhere, Danny Ings has travelled with the squad to Spain, looking to get some first team minutes under his belt after a plethora of impressive performances under Neil Critchley for the under-23 side. Adam Lallana has also been named as part of the 23, despite not coming off the bench in his return to the match-day squad on the weekend.
Full squad available: Loris Karius, Geoginio Wijnaldum, Dejan Lovren, James Milner, Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho, Mohamed Salah, Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge, Marko Grujic, Ragnar Klavan, Alberto Moreno, Sadio Mane, Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Simon Mignolet, Emre Can, Andrew Robertson, Danny Ings, Dominic Solanke, Danny Ward, Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Sevilla are in a very similar situation as Liverpool in terms of injuries, they basically have a fully fit squad at their disposal bar a couple somewhat important players. One being the former Reading and Portugal centre-half Daniel Carrico and the other being Nico Pareja, who played in two of Seville’s first four Champions League games this season. Simon Kjaer came off the bench at the weekend, which should see him return at centre-back against LFC at the expense of Johannes Geis.
I cannot imagine much rotation coming into play here, with Liverpool finally finding something that resembles form with three wins in the league on the trot and two impressive victories against Maribor in recent memory, I can’t see Jurgen Klopp wanting to break a winning formula. Yet again the biggest and pretty much only question about the starting eleven will be in the heart of defence and whether or not Klopp decides that Joe Gomez has the ability to start at centre-half for the Reds (He most certainly does, come on, Jurgen.)
Liverpool: Loris Karius, Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan, Alberto Moreno, Gini Wijnaldum, Emre Can, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah.
Sevilla: Sergio Rico, Gabriel Mercado, Simon Kjaer, Clement Lenglet, Sergio Escudero, Ever Banega, Steven N’Zonzi, Michael Krohn-Dehli, Yassim Ben Yedder, Nolito, Angel Correa.
As I said before, the game that these two sides contested earlier on this campaign resulted in a 2-2 stalemate. With goals coming from Firmino and Salah, and a Dejan Lovren cock-up. So, a typical game in the life of a Liverpool fan. Before that, the last game we played against the Sevillan’s was the Europa League final in which we were trounced in the second half, let’s not have a repeat of that, Reds.
Liverpool: Loris Karius
The Instagram model himself has been put through the ringer by Liverpool fans as of, well, forever, and he isn’t doing much to help himself in his performances in the Champions League. He hasn’t exactly been good, or consistent, for that matter. I remember him sitting on the bench with a proper cob on for a whole game after he got dropped for Mignolet last season, and to be honest, he can stay on the bench if he isn’t wanting to work his behind off to fit into the team. Saying that, I hope he has a decent game in Seville, because if he doesn’t, there will be uproar, and goals. Lots of goals.
Sevilla: Luis Muriel
The Colombian forward came off the bench and made a massive difference when the sides met in September, and I expect him to do the same here. I think that Sevilla will be hoping that his injection of pace in the last 20-30 minutes could be the difference in the game, and it could well be and depending on who our full-backs are and how well the aforementioned Karius plays, he could have a field day as legs tire.
Hopefully with the form that Liverpool have been in recently, we can go into this game confident, which is a strange feeling for a Liverpool fan. Fingers crossed that Jurgen Klopp can set up his side well enough to be able to better the Sevilla side in front of them and in the process break a record held by Bob Paisley. Who was the last manager to lead Liverpool to three wins by three or more goals consecutively, Jurgen Klopp tied that record with the 3-0 win over Southampton on Saturday, it’ll be interesting to see if it can be done. However, in terms of concrete predictions, I think that the game will be tough for the Reds, particularly away from home. I can see Salah scoring, as I can in every single game to be fair, but I don’t know if it’ll be enough. I’m going to go for a tight 2-1 win for Liverpool.
Into these, Reds.