Liverpool aim to start with Sevilla success
Liverpool FC face a tough return to the UEFA Champions League as they take on Sevilla FC – who beat the Reds in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League final.
• While Liverpool are in the group stage for the first time since 2014/15 – and just the second time in eight seasons – Sevilla are in the last 32 for the third campaign running and looking to build on last term’s progress to the round of 16.
• The clubs’ sole past encounter came in Basel in May 2016, when Sevilla came from a goal down to become the first team to win the UEFA Europa League – and its UEFA Cup forerunner – for a third successive season. Initially it looked like being Liverpool’s night when Daniel Sturridge fired them into a 35th-minute lead, but Kévin Gameiro levelled 17 seconds into the second period and two Coke goals (64, 70) gave Sevilla a fifth triumph in the competition.
• The line-ups at St. Jakob-Park on 18 May 2016 were:
Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Touré (Benteke 82), Lovren, Moreno, Milner, Can, Lallana (Allen 73), Coutinho, Firmino (Origi 69), Sturridge.
Sevilla: Soria, Rami (Kolodziejczak 78), Escudero, Ferreira, Carriço, Krychowiak, N’Zonzi, Banega (Cristóforo 90+3), Coke, Vitolo, Gameiro (Iborra 89).
• Five-time European champions Liverpool did not take part in UEFA competition in 2016/17, when they finished fourth in the Premier League. They are aiming to reach the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds for the first time since 2008/09.
• The last six European games at Anfield have ended in a home win. Liverpool are unbeaten in their last ten European home matches, since a 3-0 loss to Real Madrid CF on 22 October 2014.
• The Merseysiders have won three of the last four visits by Spanish sides to Anfield, the sole exception being that Real Madrid defeat.
• Overall their record against Spanish Liga clubs is W14 D10 L11; at home, it is W7 D4 L5.
• Sevilla’s interest in last season’s UEFA Champions League was curtailed in England, a 2-0 reversal at Leicester City FC in their round of 16 second leg completing a 3-2 aggregate loss.
• That marked a third straight defeat away to Premier League opposition for Sevilla, who have never won in five trips to England (D2 L3).
• Last term, Sevilla made it to the round of 16 for the first time since 2009/10 – but they have never gone further in the UEFA Champions League era. This is their fifth group stage campaign and their third in a row.
• The 2-0 loss at Leicester is Sevilla’s sole defeat in their last eight away matches in UEFA competition (W3 D4).
Coach and player links
• Alberto Moreno came through the ranks at home-town club Sevilla, making 62 first-team outings before joining Liverpool in 2014.
• Daniel Carriço played in England with Reading FC in 2013; one of his three appearances came in a 0-0 home draw with Liverpool in April 2013.
• Steven N’Zonzi played in England from 2009 to 2015, with Blackburn Rovers FC and then Stoke City FC. His record in 11 meetings with Liverpool was W2 D3 L6, although he scored in his most recent encounter – a 6-1 win for Stoke on 24 May 2015.
• Nolito bagged four goals in 19 Premier League games for Manchester City FC in 2016/17.
• Jesús Navas was a Manchester City player between 2013 and 2017, with the record W2 D1 L4 against Liverpool. He played in the team that beat the Reds on penalties in the 2016 League Cup final.
• Philippe Coutinho had a loan spell with RCD Espanyol in 2012, scoring in a 1-1 draw with Sevilla in his final match on 13 May 2012.
• Liverpool are nine matches unbeaten in all competitions (W7 D2), a run dating back to a 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace FC on 23 April.*
• Mohamed Salah has scored three goals in his first five appearances for the Reds and continued his early-season form with the winner for Egypt at home to Uganda in FIFA World Cup qualifying on 5 September.*
• On the same day, Sadio Mané found the net in Senegal’s 2-2 draw against Burkina Faso. Mané has struck in each of Liverpool’s three league matches this term.*
• Making his first appearance of the season following a back injury, Coutinho was on target as Brazil defeated Ecuador 2-0 on 31 August.
• Andy Robertson registered his second international goal as Scotland prevailed 3-0 in Lithuania in the European Qualifiers for the World Cup.
• Ben Woodburn, 17, scored the winner against Austria (1-0) on his senior debut for Wales and set up the opening goal in the 2-0 victory over Moldova three days later.
• Sevilla drew 1-1 with RCD Espanyol in their first Liga match of the season before defeating Getafe CF 1-0.
• Éver Banega was sent off against Espanyol in his first game back for Sevilla since rejoining from FC Internazionale Milano, ruling him out of the trip to Getafe and the weekend encounter with SD Eibar.
• David Soria was substituted early on versus Espanyol with an injured hand and is a doubt to face Liverpool.*
*Subject to weekend updates