Ben Morgan looks ahead to tonight’s Champions League clash as Liverpool travel to Spain to face Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, in a game which could decide who tops Group E, including team news for both sides, and what we could expect to see in the game.
Liverpool returns to Champions League tonight, with their fate very much in their own hands. Jurgen Klopp’s Reds have been resurgent as of late. The embarrassing 4-1 defeat away to Tottenham has inspired the Reds into a four-game winning streak. That winning streak has included three 3-0 wins, against Maribor, Huddersfield and most recently Southampton, all at home respectively, and also a 4-1 away win against West Ham. The one name which is on the tip of every Liverpool fans tongue at the moment is that of Mo Salah, and Liverpool will surely be looking for the Egyptian to provide the spark again. He is the Premier Leagues top goal scorer now on 9 goals after 12 games in the league, also eclipsing Robber Fowler’s record of 8 goals in his first 12 games for Liverpool in the Premier League, and took his tally to 14 in 18 games in all competitions. Not bad at all for a Chelsea ‘flop’.
Jurgen Klopp has voiced his delight with the Egyptian, saying he has met the expectations set by Liverpool already; “He has, of course, he’s reached them at least. That’s clear. It’s all good so far, I like Mo, I really like his goals but I don’t have to talk too much about them because they are in the past. I’m more interested in his statistics tomorrow night (now tonight). But in our games, it’s not luck that he scored, he made really fantastic goals. He can build Confidence on off this.”
Team News – Liverpool:
Jurgen Klopp has a near fully fit squad to choose from this evening. Loris Karius is set to continue as Liverpool’s Champions League Goalkeeper. With Joel Matip injured we could see the same back four, although Joe Gomez, will be hoping that he can come back into the side after being rested at the weekend. Adam Lallana is also fit to face the Spanish side after a lengthy lay off. James Milner could also come back into the side, although with the performance of Jordan Henderson at the weekend that could be difficult. We could again see the start of the ‘fab four’ for Liverpool as well, with Phil Coutinho in an attacking Midfield role, and a front three of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino. The squad also has a place for Danny Ings, who has looked to be fully fit and firing after having a spell with the Under 23 squad to build his match fitness up. It would be brilliant to see the striker get some first team minutes under his belt, after his horrific injuries he has suffered.
Team News – Sevilla:
Sevilla has won 4 of their last 6 games in the Spanish League, only losing to the top two sides, Barcelona and Valencia, so they are not in bad form themselves. Former Stoke city man Steven N’Zonzi should start. The Frenchman is pivotal to this Sevilla side and has excelled since leaving the potters. Former Manchester city wide man Nolito could feature again as well. The Spaniard never settled in Manchester last year, following some outstanding football from Celta Vigo, and has since returned to Spain, where he looks back to some of his best form. Luis Muriel, the pacey Columbian striker, could lead the line.
What can we expect?
This will not be an easy game for the Reds. The reverse fixture back at Anfield ended a 2-2 draw. This Sevilla side is dangerous, with a host of talent and a winning mentality. But, Liverpool has vast amounts of their own talent. With the fab four back, fit and firing, and the return of Adam Lallana as well, the future looks bright for the Reds going forward, and if they are allowed the room on the ball, or if Sevilla has one lapse in concertation, expect the Reds to be hot on their heels. Liverpool has added a certain steel to their backline after the defeat to Tottenham, only conceding 1 in their last form. Their home record is brilliant, but it is on the road where the goals have been flying in, so expect Sevilla to be testing the Reds from set pieces and crosses into the box.
Jurgen Klopp is certainly expecting a tough encounter, during his pre-match conference the Reds Manager said; “They have all the things you need, experience strikers, quick strikers, ready for channeled balls, midfielders, N’Zonzi, Banega, Navas. When you prepare for a game like this you think ‘oh my god they are really good’. It is more interesting to face them. This is a tough place to come. What we did in the last month result –wise has given us confidence coming here, but that does not mean we win it. Our new maturity we will have to show 100 percent in this atmosphere. We do not need to run in only one direction and win in the first second. We have to show how the last games were against a quality opponent”.
The last time the Reds were in Spain for the Champions League, it ended in defeat, a 1-0 loss to Real Madrid. But with the ‘King of Egypt’ and the ‘Brazilian Magician’ in their ranks, can the Reds conquer Spain this time, and take their place in the Champions Leagues Last 16.