Liverpool are flying high domestically right now after three straight wins has left them on the fringes of a coveted top four berth. However tonight the focus shifts to continental matters as they look to solidify top spot in Group E with a trip to recent foes Sevilla.
Sevilla came out on top during the 2016 Europa League Final in Basle and they also managed to silence Anfield after earning a 2-2 draw in Matchday 1 of this season’s Champions League. For Liverpool although it was a draw it almost felt like a defeat as it was a game that they were on top for large periods of and by rights should have came out on top of.
Since then though Liverpool have found their groove in this competition with a spirited draw in Moscow against Spartak and then back to back wins over Maribor and it was Spartak who did them a favour when they beat Sevilla in Matchday 3 which allowed Jurgen Klopp’s men to top the group.
But there is no question that the trip to Sevilla will prove to be a difficult proposition and a draw would still leave them in the box seat for the final fixture in Group E which is a home tie against Spartak Moscow in early December, with that in mind being able to top the group and in theory earn an easier draw in the Round of 16 is very much in their hands.
Sevilla come into this game sitting fifth in La Liga some 12 points behind leaders Barcelona while two points behind both Madrid club as Real and Atletico currently find themselves third and fourth in table respectively. Sevilla’s usual order in the top four has been disrupted by Valencia and they may well struggle to appear in this competition next season.
At the weekend they managed to close the gap to the two Madrid clubs who themselves cancelled each other after a derby draw with a 2-1 home win over Celta Vigo. Wissam Ben Yedder’s goal with just over quarter of an hour remaining would prove to be the difference.
Liverpool however had no such difficulties as they steamrollered Southampton at Anfield. Egyptian international Mohamed Salah moved to the top of the Premier League scoring charts with a brace while Philippe Coutinho also managed to get himself on the scoresheet.
It is now nine goals for Salah in his debut season for Liverpool and the former Chelsea and Roma forward is now responsible for 37.5% of the Merseysider’s Premier League goals in this campaign. Quite simply there is no understating his contribution for the club.
If there is to be some criticism is that for all the chances he scores he is still wasteful in front of goal, it almost asks the question just how many goals would have scored right now if his finishing was even more ruthless. But at the same time that is arguably doing him a disservice and taking the focus away from a string of impressive performances.
Liverpool’s defence has been called into question on a number of occasions this season but all seems calm with the back four at present. A second successive 3-0 win at home in the Premier League sandwiches a very comfortable 4-1 win over West Ham at the London Stadium before the international break.
That defence is undoubtedly going to be tested tonight and will have to be at it’s best as they look to keep the likes of Joaquin Correa and former Manchester City forward Stevan Jovetic quiet, while also not forgetting talents such as Ben Yedder and Ganso.
Liverpool will have their tails up after recent performances but the level of opposition and circumstances are a little different tonight. I think if you offered any of their fans a draw they would take it and I doubt players and manager alike would be all that disappointed either. I’ll go with a share of the points tonight.
Here is what social media thinks will happen – you can still vote on the outcome
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) November 21, 2017