UEFA Champions League football returns to Anfield on Wednesday, as Liverpool host Sevilla in one of the most eyecatching ties of Week 1.
The Reds will be out to recover from Saturday’s 5-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City with a strong start in Europe. Sevilla are Liverpool’s biggest rivals for top spot in what is an otherwise favourable group.
The La Liga side have enjoyed a decent start to their domestic campaign, picking up seven points from a possible nine. They are a team with exceptional European pedigree and are unlikely to be inhibited in what will be a cauldron of noise on Merseyside.
Date: Wednesday, September 13
Time: 7:45 p.m. (BST), 2:45 p.m. (ET)
TV Info: BT Sport (UK), FOX Sports (U.S.)
Live Stream: BT Sport website (UK), FOX Sports Go (U.S.)
Read on for the latest team news for each side, the key viewing details and a preview of what should be a memorable occasion at Anfield.
Liverpool: The big decision facing manager Jurgen Klopp is whether to recall Philippe Coutinho to the XI. Dejan Lovren should return in central defence after missing out against Manchester City:
Likely XI: Simon Mignolet; Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip, Andy Robertson; Jordan Henderson, Emre Can, Philippe Coutinho; Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane
Sevilla: Manager Eduardo Berizzo is poised to be without Nolito and Johannes Geis for this one, per Football Espana. Ever Banega is set to feature having served a suspension in La Liga.
Likely XI: Sergio Rico; Gabriel Mercado, Daniel Carrico, Clement Lenglet, Sergio Escudero; Steven N’Zonzi, Ever Banega, Pablo Sarabia; Ganso, Jesus Navas, Wissam Ben Yedder
Revenge of sorts will be on the mind of Klopp and his Liverpool players on Wednesday against Sevilla, after the Andalusians breezed to victory against the Reds in the 2015-16 UEFA Europa League final. But this Sevilla side has evolved significantly since then.
After a brilliant term under Jorge Sampaoli, Berizzo is looking to push them on again. And the early signs have been positive, with a 3-0 win over Eibar on Saturday their strongest display of the season.
As noted by David Cartlidge, the manager is bringing out the best of some of the team’s brightest attacking talent:Sarabia is a fantastic player. Rough early days under Berizzo but back to his level of last season for Sevilla today. Contributes so much.
Still, it will be a big test going to Anfield. The iconic venue is renowned for European nights, and with the supporters starved of this big stage since the 2014-15 season, there’s little doubt there will be a fizz in the air on Merseyside.
The team will surely be keen to respond after Saturday’s surrender at the Etihad Stadium, too. Granted, a controversial red card for Sadio Mane did little to aid Liverpool’s cause, though the manner in which the team capitulated from a defensive perspective will worry Klopp.
However, journalist Keith Costigan is unsure how deeply the 5-0 loss should be looked into, all things considered:
Attack will be the order of the day for Liverpool in this one, and the prospect of Coutinho coming back into the side to add another dimension is an exciting one.
After a summer of persistent transfer speculation, the midfielder is set to make his first appearance of the campaign for the Reds. If he jells with the likes of Salah, Mane and Firmino, then it’s tough to see many opponents keeping out Liverpool in the Champions League this season.
As noted by Oliver Kay of The Times, the manager has confirmed Coutinho will be involved in the games.
The match should be an entertaining one. Like Liverpool, Sevilla’s focus is on attacking football, and they will head to Anfield with an intention to win the match. With this in mind, there should be a fantastic flow to the contest.
That should help Liverpool, though, who are at their most dangerous when the likes of Salah and Mane have space to burst into. The hosts will come out on top in a frantic fixture as a result.