LIVERPOOL and Sevilla clash in what looks a fascinating Europa League Final on Wednesday. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) shares his best bets.
Liverpool v Sevilla | Wednesday 19:45 | BT Sport Europe
When you consider some of the match-ups we’ve had in the recent past in this particular fixture (I give you Porto v Braga and Shakhtar v Werder Bremen) then this year’s version looks out of the top drawer.
A rejuvenated and redefined Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp arrive in Basle full of hope while on the other side of the fence is a Sevilla side looking to become the first side to win this competition three years on the bounce. Do you go for the rabid occasional-breathtaking Liverpool side or the stoic, professional Spaniards who seem to treat this tournament like a lover they’re fixated on.
Sevilla offer up the real conundrum here. As you’ll be aware they haven’t won an away fixture in La Liga all season. 19 games. 0 wins. That’s not a stat, that’s a trend!
This match is of course played at a neutral venue, so how do we interpret that? Sevilla won nine away games last season in La Liga and the year before picked up seven wins before going on to win the 2014 Europa League so this is a worrying trend for sure.
That’s clearly been factored into the prices here with Sevilla as big as 12/5 to win here and Liverpool just 7/5 to win in 90 minutes.The layers clearly fear Klopp’s men.
Why are Liverpool such strong favourites? Well on top of Sevilla’s awful away record Liverpool have had a much tougher route to the final slaying some beasts along the way.
Manchester United were easily dismantled in the Last 16 before the Reds produced an epic comeback win over Borussia Dortmund in the Quarter-Finals. Their semi-final date was with Villarreal, a side who finished 12 points and three positions higher up the table than Sevilla in La Liga. After a harsh defeat in the first leg they were blitzed 3-0 in the return.
I’m hoping we see that side of Liverpool on Wednesday night. That joyous-lets-have-a-go approach that reaped such rich rewards in the Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals.
Surely we can expect to see it at some point so it’s for that reason I’m expecting goals on Wednesday night. Sevilla have been lax defensively this season with 50 goals conceded in La Liga and just three clean sheets in their eight Europa League ties.
Indeed the likes of Molde, Atheltic Bilbao (both legs) and Shakhtar Donetsk (both legs) found a way past Unai Emery’s side and I can see Liverpool following suit on Wednesday.
With just three defeats in their last 22 matches (compared to Sevilla’s 10) I’m inclined to have more faith in the English side but my heart is telling me Sevilla might just score here.
They’ve scored in 12 of their last 13 matches and I can’t imagine they’ll let go of this trophy without a fight. Both Teams To Score at 20/23 with Coral looks a fair bet.
On top of this I feel this might go all the way so I’ll back Liverpool to win in extra time at 10/1 with BetVictor and 11/1 to win in penalties with the same firm. I’m sticking with the hope of a Mersey paradise this Wednesday night.