Jurgen Klopp will be leading Liverpool into their second final of the season on Wednesday night as the reds prepare to take on reigning champions for the past two seasons, Sevilla, in the Europa League final.
The Spanish team currently hold the record for the most number of wins in the history of this tournament with four, whilst Liverpool are close behind on three, and would match that title with a win in Basel.
Klopp’s side, who lost the Capital One Cup final on penalties to Manchester City earlier in the season, will be even more hungry to succeed this time round, especially as their relatively poor league finish means that winning this game is their only way of making it into European competition next year.
Sevilla have never lost in a Europa League final, and they have overcome Dnipro and Benfica at this stage in the past two seasons.
Unai Emery has a squad of extremely capable players at his disposal, with the likes of Kevin Gameiro up top and the exciting Yevhen Konoplyanka out wide, whilst Jurgen Klopp will be hoping that the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho will be on form when it matters most, and so far this season, they have produced in big games, with both scoring in crunch match against Southampton, (although they ended up losing 3-2) both scoring in either leg against Manchester United in the round of 16, and Coutinho notching in the League Cup final.
Some would say that Liverpool have the upper hand already, as Sevilla face Barcelona in the Copa Del Rey final this Sunday, and will therefore possibly not be prepared to work as hard with only a few days rest, so Klopp will almost certainly play his normal and effective style of pressing high up the pitch and, if they can keep possession well enough, they should be able to tire out Sevilla, and it wouldn’t be unlikely to see any key players taken off with their other cup final in mind.
This game really could make or break not only this season, but next season for Liverpool, as in the other competitions, it’s fair to say that their form has been mixed, but their impressive form in this competition (including an incredible 5-4 win over Klopp’s former club, Borussia Dortmund) means that, should they win it, their season will be generally seen as a success, and next season, not only European football will be secured but Champions League football aswell.
Of course, not having the distraction of Europe in 2016/17 could well benefit their league form, but at the end of the day a team with the history of Liverpool should always expect to be playing in the continent’s most important competition.
Their are no favourites in a match where everything points to 90 minutes (or more) of entertainment, as a Liverpool side, rejuvenated under Jurgen Klopp, take on the reigning champions, Sevilla. It’s not long to go now!