Liverpool will travel to the St. Jakob Park in Basel, Switzerland tomorrow night looking to secure their first major European triumph since their incredible comeback in Istanbul eleven years ago, and in the process qualify for next season’s Champions League group stages.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have had an incredible campaign to date in Europe’s secondary competition defeating Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and Villarreal among others, and portraying a team spirit unrivalled by many, if any other teams in world football.
The Reds overturned a first leg deficit to reach the final. Having lost 1-0 in the first leg, goals from Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana sent Liverpool through after Villarreal midfielder Bruno had levelled the tie with a seventh minute own goal.
However, it remains unclear whether or not ‘skipper Jordon Henderson will feature for Liverpool on Wednesday night. The 25-year-old has been the victim of various foot injuries this season but he made his first-team return as a second-half substitute in his side’s 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Sunday. A result which meant that Liverpool end Klopp’s first season at the helm in eighth place.
Ahead of tomorrow night’s final, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp spoke about the experience that Sevilla have undoubtedly gotten having won two Europa League title in concession, but stressed that his side are well capable of winning the competitions for the first time since 2001.
Klopp said: "They are quite experienced but when you are experienced, it doesn't mean you have an advantage, it's only one part of all the parts around the game. There's no advantage for one team.
"If you won it last year, what does it mean? If you won it two years ago, what does it mean? Actually nothing, so it's another game. We didn't play them last year in the final, we didn't play them two years ago in the final, so it's the first time they play against us. So that's our big advantage because we think we are quite different to all other teams in this moment. That's what we'll try to use."
Unai Emery will lead his side into tomorrow evening’s final looking to secure a third Europa League triumph in succession having defeated Benfica and Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk respectively in the last two finals.
The men from southern Spain have negotiated their path to the final with few problems having entered the competition as a result of finishing third in their Champions League group behind Manchester City and Juventus.
Norwegians Molde, final hosts Basel, compatriots Athletic Bilbao and Shakhtar Donetsk from Ukraine have all succumbed to defeat as Sevilla won through to a fifth Europa League final since 2006.
Despite not finishing as high up as they aimed to in La Liga by climaxing the season in seventh, Los Rojiblancos have performed admirably in knock-out competition since the turn of the year, and a Copa del Rey final awaits them following tomorrow night’s European showpiece.
Hot-shot Kevin Gameiro will lead the line for the Spaniards, while Argentinian Ever Banega is expected to provide the attacking ammunition for Emery’s men as they look to breach a Liverpool defence which will be without the suspended Mamadou Sakho.
The Sevilla manager has described the final match-up as being “beautiful” but warned his players that they will have to produce their best in order to secure a third consecutive title victory.
“You have to come up with the goods and rise to the challenge to go a long way in this competition. The fact that this is our third consecutive final demonstrates how focused and hungry we have been to do well in the Europa League, and win it.”
Referee: Jonas Eriksson
Sevilla have scored 14 goals in the knock-out rounds of the Europa League this season on route to tomorrow night’s final. Liverpool have scored two less over the same period.
Neither side have qualified for European competition next season from their domestic leagues, adding further significance to tomorrow night’s decider.
If Liverpool win Wednesday’s final, they will draw level with Sevilla on four Europa League titles, taking their overall European haul to twelve (5 Champions Leagues, 3 Europa League & 3 Super Cups).
Liverpool 7/5; Draw 9/4; Sevilla 2/1.
Liverpool 3-2 Sevilla.
Injured: Danny Ings
Doubtful: Divock Origi
Suspended: Mamadou Sakho
Injured: Michael Krohn-Delhi, Jose Antonio Reyes