The final stage of the Europa league kicks off this Thursday morning with Liverpool looking to gain a place in next seasons Champions League when they attempt to beat the winners of the last two Europa League Finals, Sevilla. The carrot is much the same for Sevilla though as a win for them would also give them access to next seasons Champions League, as much like Liverpool, their league form hasn’t been good enough to qualify. Sevilla may have won the last two finals but Liverpool have shown good form in this competitions so they’ll be right in this.
**Odds from Sportsbet as at 17th May
Liverpool ($2.37) versus Sevilla ($3.1), Draw ($3.3)
The Reds start as favourites against the Champions of the last two Europa League Finals. In the Premier League this season they have been rather inconsistent and defensively frail but in the Europa League they have been focused and have shown a lot of character. That determination and fight, especially against the likes of Borussia Dortmund, means they really do deserve to be in this final. If Liverpool are going to win this, it’s going to be on the back of a few goals as I don’t think we can expect their defence to hold up. Their attack on the other hand is where they have an edge. Klopp has numerous options up front and those 4 goals at home to Borussia Dortmund, who are typically a strong side defensively, shows their capability in attack. Of course finals can often produce more defensive and tentative approaches to the contest but for me I can see some goals in this one.
Sevilla’s last two Europa League titles have produced completely different results but they were against contrasting opponents. In 2013/14 they beat Benfica on penalties after the scores were 0-0 after extra time. Benfica are another of those sides that are strong defensively and so that result was probably not all that surprising. Last season, they beat Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 3-2 in normal time and that along with the fact that 13 of the last 16 of Sevilla’s Europa League games have ended over 2.5 goals suggests that this game will likely end in an overs result. Liverpool, as mentioned already, are not the tightest defence in Europe and neither is Sevilla. Sometimes that may mean both sides are a little more cautious in tackling such an important contest but it will only take that first goal to open up further opportunities in this game.
As for a winner, Liverpool have been in better form leading into this losing just once in their last 5 and have managed their players well so will be relatively fresh. Sevilla have won just once in their last 5 in all competitions which leaves a lot of ground to make up ahead of this match and although they have been here before I’m going to back Liverpool to snatch this one.
Predicted score: Liverpool 2-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score – Yes at $1.72 (80%) (In normal time)
Next Best: Liverpool Draw No bet at $1.65 (Normal time)
First Goal scorer: Coutinho at $8 (Anytime at $3.4)