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EUROPA LEAGUE FINAL: Liverpool V Sevilla

As hundreds of Liverpool fans continue their epic journeys across Europe, several thousands more sit at home just waiting for kick off on Wednesday evening. There's some real final fever in the air for Reds all over the world and while rivals will be quick to highlight the fact that it's "only the Europa League" they will have to do way more than that to throw Kopites off the party train.

Jurgen Klopp has already led his side to a final this year but after miraculously pushing Borussia Dortmund to one side and slotting three goals past Sevilla, this time out it feels like the silverware could be ours. I'm a bit of a weirdo to be honest as I actually secretly kind of want us to go 1-0 down, just for the thrill of the comeback. If you could guarantee me that we'd go on to win despite Sevilla scoring first, I'd wish for that all day long.

Whatever happens on Wednesday evening it's set to be an enthralling fixture between two top European clubs.

Image via youtube.com

Form

In their last six games in all competitions Liverpool have won two, drawn two and lost two. Their most recent two games against West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea both ended in 1-1 draws.

For Sevilla, in all competitions they have also won two games but they have lost three and drawn just one. Sevilla's two most recent fixtures both ended in a loss as Unai Emery's side lost 3-1 to Athletico Bilbao and 4-1 to Granada.

Route To The Final

It's hard to believe that back in September the Reds were starting their journey to the final of the Europa League. After a 1-1 draw with Bordeaux in the group stages I personally didn't expect anything much from the competition. The following game, a 1-1 draw with FC Sion further instilled this feeling. Yet another 1-1 draw followed, this time against Rubin Kazan, if you can't beat teams like that then you have to feel concerned.

On the 5th November, the second fixture against Rubin Kazan gave Liverpool their first win in the competition thanks to a goal from Jordon Ibe. A couple of weeks later another victory, this time over Bordeaux secured progress to the knockout stage of the competition for the Reds no matter what happened in the final game against FC Sion (0-0).

In the round of the last 32 Liverpool lined up against German side Augsburg. A 0-0 draw away from home enabled the Reds to bring the tie back to Anfield where they won 1-0 but only thanks to a James Milner penalty.

Despite somewhat riding their luck to this stage, things got real serious for the Reds when Manchester United came out of the hat in the round of 16. This was huge, Liverpool may have lost some of their glory years of late but one thing they do hold over United is their European prowess. We simply had to win this clash. A 2-0 win at Anfield gave Jurgen Klopp's side a nice boost going into the game at Old Trafford. Philippe Coutinho scored a brilliant goal in the away leg knocking United out of the competition.

Just when you thought things couldn't get any more exciting in Europe's second tier competition, Liverpool go and draw Klopp's old side Borussia Dortmund. A massive force in European football, this is the stage where many thought Liverpool's luck had run out.

A 1-1 draw in the quarter final in Germany felt like quite a good result to take back to Anfield but Dortmund had other ideas scoring two goals in quick succession at L4. Origi managed to pull a goal back on 48 minutes but Reus quickly cancelled it out. Anfield is notorious for a magical European night and the 12th man certainly pushed Liverpool over the line that night in April. Coutinho bagged a game changing goal just after the hour mark and a 77th minute goal from an unlikely source; Mamadou Sakho left Liverpool needing just one goal to go through to the semi finals. Then, in extra time, up leapt Dejan Lovren with a massive, massive header. You have never seen such scenes at the Kop end, absolutely phenomenal. This was the turning point, we completely obliterated a Borussia Dortmund side when we should have been dead in the water.

The semi final felt like it should be a given, surely the Reds would be victorious, nothing could stop them now? Not after that Dortmund win?

Well, it wasn't as straight forward as planned. The away fixture at Villarreal was very frustrating for me as Klopp tried to keep things tight and refused to increase the levels of attack during the end of the game leaving Villarreal to score late on. With no away goal, the leg at Anfield was very tentative to begin with but Liverpool eventually found their stride and scored three in the process, helping me win £40 on a scorecase bet and most importantly, booking their place in Basel.

Previous Finals

If the Reds can surge to victory on Wednesday it will be their fourth time winning the Europa League (UEFA Cup). A competition that it often ridiculed, most fans will tell you of the excitement it can bring when you do reach a final. The youngsters will recall the enthralling Alaves final while the oldies will tell you about Borussia Monchengladbach and Brugge.

2001 is the only one I can remember, at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund, Liverpool lined up against the surprise that was Alaves. I was only 12 at the time, massively obsessed with Michael Owen and like many I probably underestimated the opposition. The Spanish side were a force to be reckoned with though, goals from Babbel and Gerrard opened up the scoring but Alaves quickly replied on 26 minutes via Alonso.

Gary McCallister then scored a penalty at 40 minutes to put the Reds 3-1 up but Javi Moreno found two goals in quick succession for the Spaniards. A goal from Robbie Fowler on 72 minutes made it look like the Reds had secured the win but Jordi Cruyff, son of the legendary Johan Cruyff, had other plans and scored on 88 minutes taking the tie to extra time.

In one of the last occasions for the golden goal, heartbreakingly for Alaves it was an own goal from Geli that sealed their fate giving Liverpool their third UEFA Cup.

I've watched and supported Liverpool since I was about 6 or 7 thanks to an older brother who was mad on the Reds and while I never fully understood/appreciated the excitement of winning that 2001 UEFA Cup, I realised European excitement properly for Istanbul. It's these moments that tell me tomorrow is going to be a special night.

Betting

Click the banner in the sidebar and bet £10 to receive £30 free to play with!

Liverpool to win the cup is currently down at 4/6, Liverpool to win the cup after a penalty shootout is priced at 10/1. I don't want it to happen but I actually think the latter could be the outcome, might have a bloody heart attack if it does!

If you really fancy a Liverpool win you can get them on half time and full time at 11/4 currently and 3/1 to win the game whilst keeping a clean sheet.

In terms of first goalscorers Daniel Sturridge is down at 5/1, Divock Origi who could make a shock return is down at 7/1 while James Milner is priced at 12/1.

Enjoy the match folks, wherever you are watching! I cannot bloody wait!

Kirsty W

Kirsty; Award winning Liverpool FC blogger and social media addict.