Sevilla vs. Liverpool
| Tuesday, November 21st |
Champions League | Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán
7:45PM GMT/2:45PM EST
A win, and Liverpool are through to the knockout rounds of the Champions League. A win, and Liverpool have all but wrapped up first place in Group E. Despite a disappointing start to their Champions League return, with wasted chances leading to a pair of draws, the Reds are now fully in control of their destiny and know that beating Sevilla, who currently are a point behind them in second place, would ensure advancement.
Even a draw wouldn’t be a terrible result, keeping Liverpool top of the group for another round. A win, though, has to be the goal, and getting all three points wouldn’t just guarantee that Liverpool advance, it would just about tie down first place, putting the Reds on 11 points and making it so that even if Spartak Moscow—currently in third with five points—win their final two games, they would still need to beat Liverpool at Anfield in the final group game and overcome a seven-goal differential disadvantage to beat the Reds to first on the tie-break.
Liverpool, then, will be gunning for three points—though the expectation will be for a slightly more reserved approach by Jürgen Klopp’s side given how well that has served them over the past month in league action. Sevilla, meanwhile, are dealing with injury problems and are likely to try to take a more defensive approach themselves despite that they’re the home side.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Karius; Gomez, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno; Wijnaldum, Can, Coutinho; Salah, Firmino, Oxlade-Chamberlain
At least one change is certain to be made, with Loris Karius coming in for Simon Mignolet and Liverpool’s cup ‘keeper takes the reigns, and with Chelsea up next on the schedule, there’s a case to be made for even more rotation. Managing minutes and looking to the future, though, will have to be weighed against a chance for Liverpool to secure their place in the next round of the Champions League, and that means there’s a possibility Klopp runs out the same starting eleven that faced Southampton bar Karius.
Still, at least one change in each phase of the lineup is at least plausible, and if one comes in the attacking trio it would be Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain coming in for Sadio Mané given the Senegal star’s recent hamstring issues—and it certainly doesn’t hurt that Oxlade-Chamberlain has played well whenever given the chance. In midfield, recent injuries and managing minutes could also mean Jordan Henderson swaps out with an eye to the weekend—and with an eye to Can’s physical play and ability to arrive late around the box helping to unsettle Sevilla.
There could also be a change to the backline, perhaps with Trent Alexander-Arnold coming in and Joe Gomez shifting to centre half, but if Joël Matip is expected to be fit for the weekend—something that as of now isn’t entirely certain—it’s likely we get the same back four and if any of Gomez, Matip, or Klavan do need a break it will come in the league four days later. With a mostly fit lineup, though, it’s Sevilla who head into the game with far more to worry about on the injury front, and whatever lineup Klopp selects—minus Adam Lallana, who is only likely to be fit to make the bench—is going to be a strong one.
Sevilla, on the other hand, are struggling with injuries. Right back Gabriel Mercado, centre halves Daniel Carrico and Nicolas Pareja, and winger Joaquin Correa are all players who would at the very least be in the matchday squad if fit and none are expected to be ready for Tuesday. Winger Walter Montoya, though, has returned to training following a groin strain that has kept him out so far during the month of November, and though he’s unlikely to start he could provide a sorely needed attacking change off the bench for Berizzo’s side.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jurgen Klopp: “With the quality we have, it’s a mixture of what you have to think about—it’s about rhythm on the one side and freshness on the other. Then there are specific questions the other team will ask us, so you look and say, ‘they’re strong on this and strong on that, what can we do?’ Then you make the line-up.”
Eduardo Berizzo: “We must be smart and not play a crazy game. That kind of game does not suit us. We have to have the serenity to choose the right plan and execute with balance.”
Referee: Felix Brych (Germany) Assistants: Mark Borsch, Stefan Lupp Fourth official: Jan Seidel
Kickoff is set for 7:45PM GMT/2:45PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV. In the meantime, we'll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it's released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.