Revenge of sorts will be on the mind of Klopp and his Liverpool players on Wednesday against Sevilla, after the Andalusians breezed to victory against the Reds in the 2015-16 UEFA Europa League final.
But this Sevilla side has evolved significantly since then. After a brilliant term under Jorge Sampaoli, Berizzo is looking to push them on again. And the early signs have been positive, with a 3-0 win over Eibar on Saturday their strongest display of the season. Still, it will be a big test going to Anfield. The iconic venue is renowned for European nights, and with the supporters starved of this big stage since the 2014-15 season, there’s little doubt there will be a fizz in the air on Merseyside.
The team will surely be keen to respond after Saturday’s surrender at the Etihad Stadium, too. Granted, a controversial red card for Sadio Mané did little to aid Liverpool’s cause, though the manner in which the team capitulated from a defensive perspective will worry Klopp.
Attack will be the order of the day for Liverpool in this one, and the prospect of Coutinho coming back into the side to add another dimension is an exciting one.
After a summer of persistent transfer speculation, the midfielder is set to make his first appearance of the campaign for the Reds. If he gels with the likes of Salah, Mané and Firmino, then it’s tough to see many opponents keeping out Liverpool in the Champions League this season.
The match should be an entertaining one. Like Liverpool, Sevilla’s focus is on attacking football, and they will head to Anfield with an intention to win the match. With this in mind, there should be a fantastic flow to the contest. That should help Liverpool, though, who are at their most dangerous when the likes of Salah and Mané have space to burst into. The hosts will come out on top in a frantic fixture as a result.
Adam Lallana is expected to be sidelined for another two months due to a thigh injury but Philippe Coutinho could return for Liverpool.
Having been left out of their squad for the Champions League group stage, Nathaniel Clyne could face an even longer spell out with a hamstring problem which could see Joe Gomez return to the XI.
Liverpool know as well as anyone that one result does not define a season and will want to get back on track after being flattened by Manchester City on the weekend.
Last season it was Klopp’s side that outplayed and beat eventual champions Chelsea last September. That result combined with a loss at Arsenal was all the evidence Antonio Conte needed to decide a formation change was necessary and the Blues never looked back. They won 13 consecutive league games and Liverpool may look to them as inspiration after the loss on Saturday.
The Reds will find a run like that harder to string together with the Champions League breaking up their schedule, which Chelsea did not have, and will open the group stage with a challenging home game against Sevilla.
They also seem to have more fundamental problems – namely in defence, where Klopp’s options are a mix of the unproven and error-prone. The team’s flaws were exposed by City but Klopp must now set about masking them as effectively as Conte did a year ago.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-1 Sevilla