Liverpool return to the Champions League and host Sevilla for the first of their group stage matches.
Liverpool were completely undone by Manchester City last Saturday, losing 5-0 and going down to ten men after Sadio Mane was sent off in the first-half. His dismissal for a high-boot challenge certainly didn’t help the Reds, but their glaringly evident shortcomings in defence were exposed again. The inability to sign Southampton defender Virgil Van Dijk to help bolster the back line has been a persistent source of frustration for manager Jurgen Klopp. However, he can take solace in the fact that Liverpool have won eight of their last eleven competitive matches at Anfield. The loss at the Etihad may not have been the best warm-up for Wednesday night’s game, but Liverpool still come into this as favourites.
Liverpool and Sevilla’s only other meeting was the Europa League final in 2016, which the Spanish side won 3-1. They are the most successful club in Europa League history, but have yet to make much of an impression in the Champions League. This is the third season in a row they’ve made it to the group stage, they beat Istanbul Basaksehir 4-3 on aggregate last month to make it this term. This is manager Eduardo Berizzo’s first foray into the competition, his only other experience in a European campaign was taking Celta Vigo to the semi-finals of the Europa League last season.
The Spanish side have started brightly in La Liga this season, earning seven points from their opening three games. At the weekend they had a comfortable 3-0 win over Eibar. Brazilian Paulo Henrique Ganso scored one of the goals, his second in two games. He’s being tipped to finally come into his own this season and could pose a real threat.
After trying to force a move to Barcelona, Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho could make his first appearance for the Reds this season. A back injury had prevented his return although he’s made appearances for Brazil in World Cup qualifying and scored in their game against Ecuador at the beginning of the month. Sadio Mane’s ban only applies to English games so he’s still available and Klopp substituting winger Mohamed Salah at half-time against City, suggests he’s being rested for this encounter.
We can see goals at both ends in this clash but would go for a Liverpool home win in our Premier 10 competition this week.
Liverpool v Sevilla feature on today's Premier 10 which closes at 6:24pm. Click here to play