Liverpool were hoping that a win away to Sevilla would safely see them through to the Round of 16 in the Champions League. A disastrous second half, culminating in Sevilla’s stoppage time equalizer, ensured that Liverpool would still have work to do in their final Champions League group stage match.
Everton, on the other hand, have quite the opposite problem on Thursday night in the Europa League. Instead of playing a heavily rotated side because they’re already through, they’ll play a heavily rotated side because they’ve already been bounced from the competition. The Toffees sit bottom of their Europa League with just one point in five matches in a group that contains Atalanta, Lyon, and Apollon Limassol.
“It is a dead rubber,” Sam Allardyce explained.
”I would suggest to the fans that if you are going to spend some money to go and watch them be mindful that I am going to send a team that is not going to be risking too many players who are going to be involved for Liverpool.
“It would be foolish of me to consider getting a player injured in that game and not have him available. I have too many injuries already.”
That Big Sam would not prioritize European competition, especially given the circumstances, should not be a surprise to anyone.
However, you almost have to feel sorry for the Blues, concluding their first European competition in three years after such a poor showing. Well, almost.
Under Allardyce, Everton have won two on the trot, and are up to 10th in the table. They will no doubt be well-rested and eager to try to end their winless streak at Anfield, one that dates back to September 27, 1999.