Liverpool have travelled to Spain knowing that a win tonight will secure them a spot in the knockout stages of the Champions League. If the Reds can secure all three points they have all but qualified as group leaders, as long as they avoid defeat at home to Spartak Moscow on the final matchday. A win for Sevilla will not be enough for qualification today, unless Spartak surprisingly drop points during their matchup with Maribor. The only thing for certain is that both sides will be going flat out in Sevilla tonight, to try and put themselves in the best possible position in Group E.
Liverpool Team News
Loris Karius will be starting in goal for Liverpool and will be hoping to put in a better performance than he did in the return fixture. The German allowed Sevilla to score from both of their shots on target and was one of the main reasons as to why Liverpool only came away with a point from that game. The back four will be without Joel Matip, who missed the Southampton game at the weekend due to a thigh injury. Jurgen Klopp has since confirmed that Matip will also be unavailable tonight. Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan will be forced to start as the centre pairing once again. In at left back, Alberto Moreno was able to make the trip after welcoming the birth of his son on Saturday morning. Moreno was sadly not present at the birth, because he was with the team at their hotel ahead of the 3-0 win over Southampton. Finally, Joe Gomez will come back into the side after being rested in the league. Gomez was sent off in stoppage time against Sevilla at Anfield and will be trying to avoid a similar fate this time around.
Adam Lallana is almost ready to return to first team football, however Klopp has stated that they will be cautious and will not rush him back into the side. It is likely that he will not be risked in such an important fixture. Instead, Jordan Henderson will line up alongside Philippe Coutinho in midfield, with the final spot being up for grabs. Any one of Emre Can, Georginio Wijnaldum, James Milner or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could take the place. In my opinion, Can will be the man most likely to get the nod.
The front three will probably not be changed from the weekend. Mohammed Salah cemented his place as the Premier League’s top goalscorer and also sit atop the goals column for Group E, with four. Alongside him, Roberto Firmino has picked up three this campaign, although both players were aided by back to back matches with Maribor. Sadio Mane has been getting over a hamstring injury, but his 74 minutes against Southampton show that he is likely to start tonight even if he is taken off before the final whistle. Going forward, Liverpool will hope that they will not squander as many chances as they did in the first game. If they can be a bit more clinical up front, they will be well on the way to picking up the all-important three points.
Predicted Line Up: Karius; Moreno, Klavan, Lovren, Gomez; Coutinho, Henderson, Can; Mane, Firmino, Salah
Sevilla Team News
Sebastian Corchia was forced to be substituted late on at the weekend, and it is unclear whether or not the right-back will be fit to play tonight. Instead, Gabriel Mercado, who has started three matches in the Champions League so far this season, will likely take to the pitch for kick-off. Some more positive defensive news for Sevilla as Simon Kjaer made a substitute appearance against Celta Vigo, meaning that he should be fit and ready to come back into the side today. The Danish international is a key part of the defence and will play a big part in keeping Liverpool’s front three quiet.
Attacker, Joaquin Correa has been sidelined since late October but is eyeing a return to the side today. He is a very dangerous player coming forward so Liverpool’s back line will have to be ready for him. Also up front will be Wissam Ben Yedder, a player who has scored 50% of Sevilla’s eight Group E goals this campaign.
There are only two certain absentees for Sevilla and they are centre back, Nico Pareja and central midfielder, Daniel Carrico.
Predicted Line Up: Rico; Escudero, Lenglet, Kjaer, Mercado; Banega, N’Zonzi, Krohn-Delhi; Nolito, Ben Yedder, Correa.
This is a very important fixture for both sides and Sevilla will come out all guns blazing as a win for them will blow this group wide open. Liverpool will continue to play their attacking brand of football so expect an exciting match with plenty of end-to-end action. I see another 2-2 draw on the cards, which will leave a very nervy game for Liverpool against Spartak Moscow on 6th December.