Liverpool and Sevilla will go head to head in Basel in a bid to end their season on a high. Just like Liverpool, this has been a domestic season to forget for Sevilla.
While the Reds have finished the season outside the top 6, Sevilla were ranked 7th in a season in which many expected them to finish higher.
Now, with only the Europa League Final left to play for, both teams knows that only a win in this competition would salvage their reputation for the upcoming season.
Here are 5 reasons why Liverpool are the favorites to defeat Sevilla in the Europa League Final …
5Momentum is with the Reds
Since the drab stalemate against FC Sion at Anfield earlier this season, Liverpool has followed an upward trajectory in Europe.
While they labored to a 1-0 aggregate win in the first knockout round of this competition, everything has gone according to the plan for Liverpool ever since.
From humiliating Manchester United at their home turf, to playing with the emotions of Dortmund fans with a brutal comeback – which was followed by a thrashing of Villarreal at Anfield, every plan that Jurgen Klopp made on the training ground has come to fruition for Liverpool in the match.
Thus, the Reds faithful have every reason to believe that it will be the name of Liverpool that will be etched on the Europa League trophy come May the 18th.
4A fully fit squad favors Liverpool to lift the Cup
Back when Divock Origi injured himself in the Merseyside derby, many Liverpool fans feared that his injury might prove to be fatal for the team against Villarreal.
However, as we could say now, Daniel Sturridge was enough to drown Villarreal.
That point epitomizes the fact that even when the Liverpool squad was not at its fittest, Jurgen Klopp devised a plan B to get his team across the finishing line.
However, as evident from the injury news that is coming out from the Liverpool camp, their squad against Sevilla might feature the likes of Henderson and Origi.
Thus, with a fully fit squad to choose from – in addition to an in-form Daniel Sturridge and a resurgent Emre Can, Klopp deserves to be fully optimistic in the buildup to this fixture.
3Sevilla’s form away from home
Sevilla have played 8 games to get to the final. In those 8 games, the Spanish traveled away from home in 4, winning just 1 in the process.
That win also came in Spain, as Athletic Bilbao were the side which were defeated that day.
Thus, while the Europa League Final won’t provide a home atmosphere for either of the two teams, Liverpool have shown by their performances away from home that they can handle the pressure.
They drew 1-1 at Old Trafford, got a crucial away goal at Dortmund, and were beaten only by a last minute goal in the case of Villarreal.
Thus, as far as playing away from home is concerned, Liverpool have shown the tenacity to take the game to the opposition.
However, for Sevilla, this isn’t the case. In their first ever away fixture of this season’s competition, they were defeated 1-0 by a below par Molde FC side.
Including that drab performance, the Spanish side has won just 1 of their 4 fixtures away from home, scoring just 4 goals in the process.
Thus, as far as playing away from home is concerned, Liverpool have played much better than their counterpart from Spain in this regard.
2History is favoring Liverpool
Last time a Liverpool Manager reached two Cup Finals in his debut season, his side was defeated in the first one after which they won the 2nd.
That Liverpool Manager was Rafael Benitez, the final which his side lost was that of the Capital One Cup, while the competition which they did win was the UEFA Champions League.
Turning our attention to this season and it has panned out in strikingly similar fashion. Like the 2004/05 Season, this Liverpool side has finished out of the top 4, was beaten in the Final of the Capital One Cup and find themselves in the Final of a European Competition.
Thus, as evident from the discussion, the only thing that is remaining to make this season a carbon copy of the 2004/05 is a win in the Final of a European Competition.
Thus, as for history, the Liverpool faithful have a stat in order to epitomize their hopes ahead of this Wednesday’s Final.
1Over Reliance of Sevilla on Kevin Gameiro
In their journey towards the Europa League Final, Sevilla have scored 14-goals in the competition. Gameiro scored 7 out of those 14 while contributing 2 assists in the meantime.
Thus, looking at the impact that the French has made, Gameiro is directly responsible for 64% of the goals that Sevilla have scored in the competition this season.
Thus, barring some unforeseeable performance from his teammates, Kevin Gameiro is the main man who could stop Liverpool from lifting the cup.
And as you might guess from the aforementioned heading, this might prove to be a blessing in disguise for the Reds.
With Sakho still out, it would have been difficult for Liverpool to contain a side which would have more players in form coming into this game. However, with Sevilla, Liverpool know that they will only have to stop Gameiro in order to lift the trophy.