Liverpool vs Sevilla: Champions League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction
Liverpool will enjoy their first taste of Champions League football in three years when they welcome the challenge of La Liga side Sevilla to Anfield on Wednesday evening.
In a re-match of the 2016 Europa League final, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will be hoping for a different outcome on Wednesday night as he looks to kick-start his side’s push for some silverware.
But they face a difficult test first-up in the Spanish side, who will look to improve on their showing from last season’s Champions League when they were knocked out in the last-16 by Leicester City.
Liverpool’s start to the new Premier League campaign has been inconsistent to say the least, being pegged back by Watford on the opening weekend before labouring to victory over Crystal Palace.
Klopp’s side seemingly came to life in a 4-0 humiliation of Arsenal but, on return from the international break, they were on the wrong end of another thrashing as Manchester City won 5-0.
The visitors have enjoyed a far more comfortable start to proceedings in La Liga so far, winning consecutive La Liga matches without conceding following an opening day stalemate with Espanyol.
They are already well versed in European football this season too, having to find a way past Turkish outfit Istanbul Basaksehir in the play-off to secure their place in the Champions League group stage.
The good news for Klopp is that Sadio Mane is eligible to play despite his dismissal at the Etihad, likely to line-up as part of the notorious trio that also involves Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.
The big question for the German then comes on whether to give Philippe Coutinho his first start of the season, with the Brazilian in-line for a potential midfield berth in place of Georginio Wijnaldum.
For Sevilla, former Manchester City man Nolito is ruled out of Wednesday’s clash along with midfielder Johannes Geis, but aside from that Eduardo Berizzo has a fully fit squad at his disposal.
Ever Banega is expected to return to the starting eleven after being rested during the victory over Eibar at the weekend whilst reported Arsenal target Steven N’Zonzi will anchor the Sevilla midfield.
Match Prediction: Liverpool 2-1 Sevilla
Sevilla will no doubt pose Liverpool far more questions than Hoffenheim did during the recent play-off, particularly with the likes of Wissam Ben Yedder and Joaquin Correa dangerous in front of goal.
But their defence isn’t the strongest – despite the addition of Danish international Simon Kjaer during the summer – and Liverpool’s attacking trio should be too hot to handle for the Spaniards.
With the Anfield crowd getting behind them from the first whistle, and with Klopp needing a big performance from his side after Saturday’s thrashing, expect nothing less than a Liverpool victory.
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