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Dublin: 9°C Sunday 7 March 2021
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Good evening everyone and welcome to our coverage of what could be another magical European occasion for everyone associated with Liverpool. But, they won’t have it easy.

Sevilla are looking to make history and become the first side to win the competition three times in a row.

The Spaniards know how to get the job done when it matters most.

So, this is set to be a really excellent evening.

Feel free to send on any messages to me: eoin@the42.ie.

Maybe you know someone who’s at the game? If so, we’d love to see any photos or videos of them in Basel.

Going by the pictures we’ve seen already, the Liverpool fans have, eh, certainly made themselves at home.

Switzerland Soccer Europa League Source: Associated Press

Let’s get to the team news, shall we?

 

Liverpool are classed as the home team tonight, so here’s how they’ll line up.

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So, the main news lines from both camps.

Jordan Henderson is not fit enough to start for Liverpool – he’s on the bench, along with Divock Origi. Daniel Sturridge starts up top and is supported by Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho.

For the Spanish side, Yevhen Konoplyanka (always linked with a Premier League move), as expected, is only on the bench as Vitolo is preferred to him.

 

There are a couple of other familiar names for Sevilla as Steven N’Zonzi starts in central midfield while French internationals Adil Rami and Kevin Gameiro are key. Ever Banega is also included while Coke captains the side (don’t mistake him with Atletico’s Koke!)

The last time Liverpool reached the final of Europe’s secondary cup competition, they won an incredible game against another Spanish side.

Whet your appetite and take a walk down memory lane with this piece on the 2001 decider.

“Nothing is guaranteed but everything is possible”, says Jurgen Klopp.

Motivating.

Over on Setanta, David James has just referenced Leonidas and the 300. He’s got the battle fever.

By the way, it’s worth pointing out that a win for Liverpool tonight also guarantees them a place in the group stage of next season’s Champions League.

But, if they lose, they’ll miss out on Europe next term after that 8th-place finish in the Premier League.

Well, this isn’t good.

So what we know, even though details are sketchy, is that both sets of supporters got involved in altercations in the stand behind the goal. There was no segregation, with only riot police turning up once some fighting had already begun.

In terms of Sevilla’s season, they finished 7th in La Liga but did well in their high-profile fixtures.

They beat Barcelona and Real Madrid at home but their finish to the campaign was poor – losing 7 of their last 10 games.

If anyone is wondering about Klopp’s big-game pedigree, he’s lost his last four cup finals. Not that he’ll care. In the build-up to this, he’s been immensely relaxed.

2Mins

Sevilla have enjoyed more of the ball in these opening stages and forced a couple of free-kicks but the game is still to find a pattern here.

5Mins

This is true. Bizarrely. Though they could be luminous, perhaps?

Flag 7Mins

CHANCE! Can drives it from distance after Clyne’s pass slides behind Sturridge. But Soria parries to his left. Pretty comfortable for the goalkeeper.

9Mins

Bit of a niggle here. Can has been penalised a few times, Lallana too and now Milner. Another free-kick from Sevilla.

9Mins

Terrible delivery from Escudero and it’s easy for Mignolet to gather. Plenty of energy in the early stages here with Sevilla dominating the ball.

Flag 11Mins

CLOSE! Clyne’s cross to the far post and the keeper is all over the place as Sturridge plants the header back across goal towards the far corner. But it’s cleared off the line by Carrico.

Flag 13Mins

PENALTY CLAIM! Plenty of joy for Liverpool down the right side. This time it’s Firmino in the channel and he cuts inside Carrico. The defender seems to move his arm towards the ball and the Brazilian screams for a penalty. Referee Jonas Eriksson waves it away.

14Mins

Clyne has started brightly here – getting up the pitch already but he’s there to do well against Escudero as he tries to push the ball towards the by-line. The full-back stands firm.

19Mins

Banega’s touch is excellent tonight and he’s been a calming influence for Sevilla in the middle. He’s playing behind Gameiro but dropping deeper too. Lovely player to watch and could be crucial tonight.

22Mins

The more you watch Kolo Toure the more he reminds you of an aging guy at a 5-a-side on a Thursday night. Knows his limitations. Closed down and on his left foot, he just thumped a ball straight out of play a few moments ago.

Flag 24Mins

CLOSE! Lallana attacks and races towards the area. He’s coming inside and waits for Sturridge to dart into the right channel, which he does. The pass is good but rhe angle isn’t the best. Still, the striker tests the keeper who gets down and smothers.

28Mins

Mariano does well and sprints towards the by-line but Toure gets in the way of the cross. From the corner, Toure heads away for a throw.

Flag 30Mins

BOOKING! Firmino gives the ball away as he attacks and Sevilla break quickly. It’s knocked wide for Gameiro who tries to get away from Lovren along the touchline. The defender just steamrollered him and gets a yellow.

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CLOSE! Oooh. Best chance for Sevilla so far. From the corner, it’s Gameiro who gets up and flings himself acrobatically in the air. The overhead kick just misses the near post and that’s a let-off for Liverpool. Great effort.

45Mins

Was just about to type that the game hasn’t really been about the attackers, with Gameiro and Sturridge pretty much starved of the ball. But there’s the Liverpool man picking it up from Coutinho on the edge of the area and curled it to the far corner with the outside of his left foot. Clever decoy overlap from Moreno too.

38Mins

Another frantic break from Liverpool as Sevilla’s defence is caught up the pitch. Clyne was in acres of space on the right and cut it inside for Lallana. His shot was deflected for a corner. Big pressure from Klopp’s side here.

Flag 39Mins

OFFSIDE! Lovren thinks he’s scored from Milner’s corner but Sturridge is in an offside position and it’s disallowed.

42Mins

Sevilla just need to get to the dressing-room now because they’re on the ropes. Some silly play at the back almost results in another Liverpool chance and but for some frantic defending from the Spniards, they could very nearly have conceded again.

44Mins

A Sevilla corner is cleared to the edge of the area. Sevilla can’t recycle it and in an instant, because of Liverpool’s pressing (namely Lallana’s), they go back to their goalkeeper who thumps an aimless ball forward.

Flag 45Mins

CLOSE! Clyne is being allowed the freedom of St. Jakob-Park and is up there again to whip in a superb low cross. Sturridge stretches but can’t quite get to it – the same goes for Firmino at the far post.

45Mins

Well, that superb Sturridge goal gave Liverpool so much. They have completely bossed things since and should really have at least another goal to show for their dominance. They should’ve had a penalty too, arguably, while Gameiro’s acrobatic effort that just fizzed wide is the best Sevilla have to show for their opening period.

Clyne has been afforded so much space on the right side, while Moreno was indirectly involved in the goal, making a decoy run on the overlap to cause a bit of uncertainty for Sevilla as Sturridge took possession of the ball.

Klopp will be very happy, particularly with the energy and pressing without the ball.

47Mins

Oh, goodness me. That’s incredible. What a start from Sevilla. And what a mess from Liverpool. 17 seconds after the restart, Mariano races down the right side and beats Moreno so easily before racing into the area. The low cross is tapped home by Gameiro. Unbelievable stuff here.

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CHANCE! And now it’s Liverpool who are treading water here. Gameiro is suddenly clear and in behind the Reds’ defence. He takes one, two and three touches – and dwells too long. As he hits it, Toure comes across and makes a big block. But what are Liverpool playing at here?

52Mins

Breathless start to the second period here and Liverpool are probably rubbing their eyes in disbelief. They seemed in complete control and all that dominance is out the window now. Can they regroup and settle back into their stride? Or will Sevilla continue to push them here?

54Mins

On the equaliser, Mariano nutmegged Moreno, who had dived in and committed himself. Coutinho, on the cover, isn’t expecting it and is always chasing behind once the full-back continues his run.

Flag 56Mins

BOOKING! Cheap giveaway from Sevilla, when they’re in a good position. Liverpool counter and Lallana tries to race clear of Vitolo, who cynically takes him down. Certain yellow card.

Flag 58Mins

BOOKING! Banega is also shown a yellow and Sevilla need to be careful here.

Flag 61Mins

VERY CLOSE! It should be 2-1 to Sevilla. Both Toure and Moreno are ball-watching and the flick-on falls for Gameiro at the far post but he snatches at the shot. Mignolet blocks and Liverpool escape – just. Should’ve buried it.

63Mins

It’s been a long time since Liverpool stretched Sevilla now and they could do with some relief up top. If this continues for next 5/10 minutes, Klopp may think of making a change.

66Mins

Well, it was coming. Some major pressure from Sevilla – they’ve been hungry and fighting for the breaks, essentially. They’ve been more positive and quicker and more energised since the restart and the goal is as a result of that, really.

 

Vitol and Banega try a little exchange on the edge of the area and as it rolls towards the full-back, it’s the captain Coke who runs onto it and sweeps it across Mignolet to the far corner. Great, tidy finish.

67Mins

It looks like Origi is getting warmed up here.

Flag 69Mins

SUBSTITUTION! Origi (on) – Firmino (off)

Klopp blinks first and the Belgian comes in to try and find a goal here.

72Mins

The captain grabs his second amid much confusion. The ball ricochets off a Liverpool player and falls perfectly in the area for Coke who slots home, the shot too powerful for Mignolet to handle. There’s an initial suggestion that the linesman had his flag up for offside and then was overruled by the referee. But the ball was played by a Liverpool player – perhaps the official needed to have that clarified.

Flag 74Mins

BOOKING! Origi is already in the book after just having been introduced.

Flag 75Mins

SUBSTITUTION! Allen (on) – Lallana (off)

Is there a Dortmund Mark II on the cards here? Klopp makes his second change.

77Mins

There’s going to be an enforced change for Sevilla here. The crowd don’t like it but Rami needs to go off. He’s been signalling to the bench for a few minutes and he’s finally on the deck after the ball is put out of play.

77Mins

Flag 77Mins

BOOKING! This is a bit strange. Rami, as he hobbles off injured, is shown a yellow card for time-wasting. A little harsh.

Flag 79Mins

SUBSTITUTION! Kolodziejczak (on) – Rami (off)

Confirmation of the change as Sevilla make some tweaks at the back.

80Mins

Well, they know how to deliver a dramatic comeback in a European final, don’t they? Can Liverpool muster something special again? For a start, Coutinho drives a left-footed strike just over the bar.

Flag 82Mins

SUBSTITUTION! Benteke (on) – Toure (off)

They need two goals in 10 minutes so they’re going for broke here.

Flag 83Mins

BOOKING! Mariano, who has been very good, is flashed a yellow card for time-wasting as he agonises over a throw-in.

85Mins

That’s absolutely ridiculous from Moreno. A Sevilla free-kick is going to drift aimlessly out of play but he pushes Gameiro and concedes a silly free-kick when his side need to score a couple of goals.

Flag 88Mins

CLOSE! Oh. That could’ve easily been four for Sevilla. The Liverpool defence is suddenly gone missing and N’Zonzi is off. He tries to knock it across for Gameiro but it’s very heavy and the striker can only touch it slightly away from goal before turning and teeing up Coke – who’s on a hat-trick. The strike is deflected for a corner.

Flag 89Mins

SUBSTITUTION! Iborra (on) – Gameiro (off)

Rousing reception for the French striker. His goal, after just 17 seconds of the second half, was absolutely critical.

90Mins

There will be four minutes of injury time, by the way.

Flag 92Mins

SUBSTITUTION! Cristoforo (on) – Banega (off) 

Well, with two minutes to play, Sevilla are still looking for another goal. Vitolo is high, wide and not very handsome, though. The change comes as the ball flies wide of Mignolet’s goal.

Flag 90Mins

BOOKING! Clyne gets a yellow after a cynical foul – just out of sheer frustration.

90Mins

Well, that’s the one that got away for Liverpool. They seemed in control after an impressive first half but they never recovered from Kevin Gameiro’s equaliser after just 17 seconds of the second period.

In truth, they rarely got out of their half after the interval as the Spaniards were a team transformed. They had the renewed energy, the purpose and the control and the Merseysiders had little response. They couldn’t get control in midfield and there was no relief up top as a result while Sevilla were incredibly economical in front of goal.

Coke’s first was a perfect example – just racing onto the loose ball in the area and tucking it to the far corner. Their third had more than an element of good fortune, ricocheting off a Liverpool player into the path of the captain, who thumped it past Mignolet.

But Klopp will rue Liverpool losing their foothold in the game. It was there for the taking and, as much as he had a ‘quiet’ word with the referee at full-time – certainly about the penalty decisions that didn’t go his side’s way – the team just fell to pieces after conceding a poor equaliser.

A fifth-straight cup final loss for the German coach but credit to Sevilla – they make history and what a sterling comeback from them.

We mentioned at the start of our coverage how they’re the team for the big occasion and they demonstrated that again this evening.

Thanks for staying with us and there will be plenty more coverage on the site throughout the rest of the night.

About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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