After another season came to an end on the weekend the in the majority of leagues, it’s been rather quiet since. Nothing caught my eye yesterday, and with their being little other than the Europa League final (I had actually forgot it was today) I was going to give today a miss too – however as stated above I’d lost track of the days and realised the final was today!
Liverpool vs Sevilla
So – the final…contested between Liverpool, who won the competition under Gerard Houllier in 2001, and Sevilla – who are aiming to win the competition for a 3rd consecutive year! On paper at least, this should be a very good game as both are good going forward and unreliable at the back.
Liverpool are missing goalkeeper Danny Ward and Mo Sakho, while Sevilla are missing Krohn Dehli, Benoit Tremoulinas and ex-Arsenal forward Jose-Antonio Reyes. The latter two are probably the only ones of the 5 that would make a huge difference – but each side have adequate back-ups.
Sevilla go into the tie as underdogs, but with experienced coach Unai Emery at the helm – they will know odds mean nothing. With recently called up Spain keeper Sergio Rico in goal, with a back four likely to consist of Coke, Timothee Kolodziejczak and Adil Rami at centre half with Daniel Carrico filling in at left back. From there forward is where it gets interested. Ever Banega should feature prominantly as he has all season – Krychowiak and Iborra are two further key men who are expected to start, with the wings covered by Yehven Konoplyanka and Vitolo, while Kevin Gameiro is likely to get the nod over Fernando Llorente.
Overall, a strong team – who at home have been amazing all season. Away from home they have been horrific – but in a big game like this I think they will turn up.
It’s pretty much all or nothing for Liverpool. Win this, and enter the Champions League, or lose – and enter nothing, as West Ham and Southampton have finished above them in the league thanks to a draw with WBA on the final day. It is what will deem the season a success or failure in the eyes of the footballing world
Most of their starting 11 were rested on the weekend – so expect a much changed side. It’s a team that pretty much picks itself, though there are one or two big calls to make for Jurgen Klopp. Jordan Henderson and Divock Origi are both fit again and in full training, but weather either will start is another question. With Sakho out, the back 5 picks itself, with Mignolet in goal, and a back four of Clyne, Skrtel, Lovren and Moreno.
Midfield should be interesting – Lallana, Firmino, Milner and Coutinho all likely started, but in what formation I’m not so sure. Often this season it’s been a christmas tree – with a 4-3-2-1 the chosen style. Milner and Emre Can are two that I’m sure will start, while Henderson could be the 3rd in the lower tier of 3 (Lallana could drop back if not Henderson, or Lucas could come into it. Coutinho and Firmino could form the higher duo, while it’s a question of Sturridge or Origi up front – the latter is back in training, but fully fit? I’m not so sure. Either way I expect them both to feature, with both being a great pacey super-sub.
Picking a winner is tough – Liverpool possibly have the edge, but given their defensive frailties I’m not so keen to back them in that respect. I do however believe there will be plenty of goals. Konoplyanka and Gameiro on the one side offer great pace and precision, while a trio of Sturridge, Coutinho and Firmino offer a lot of pace, skill and flair.
My top tip for the game is BTTS + Over 2.5 Goals @ 11/10
I’m going to leave it at that – not one for picking goalscorers – but Gameiro and Sturridge are the two obvious ones, both at decent prices of around 3/1 first goalscorer, or 6/4 Anytime.
Best of luck