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EUROPA LEAGUE FINAL: Liverpool V Sevilla

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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.

Form In t…

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Villarreal

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Folks I am so sorry for the sporadic posts lately, I'm very close to finishing University so it should all be back to normal soon. The good news is I've managed to find some free time to get a preview done for this massive tie with Villarreal. I am super excited for the game but also hugely nervous, if he doesn't start Daniel Sturridge I might actually lose it!

Injuries A fitness update on Emre Can came through earlier in the week and somehow it seems like he may be available for the game against Villarreal. Jurgen Klopp will not be able to select Divock Origi or Jordan Henderson though who both remain out. For Villarreal, they are unable to call upon Leo Baptistao and Eric Bailly.
Last Meeting The last match between the two sides in Spain last week ended in heartbreak for Liverpool after a last minute goal from Adrian. The Reds had set up tactically, looking to stem the flow of Villarreal and while it was risky it almost worked perfectly. The downside of course is that Vi…

Calculated Risk Or Tactical Naivety?

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I don't want to stand here and accuse Jurgen Klopp of having a lack or experience or judgement because that's just ludicrous but after a frustrating result against Villarreal right in the dying moments on Thursday evening, it's hard not to feel that the manager was perhaps just a little naive on this occasion.

It's a Europa League semi-final first leg, I get it, you have to decide how you are going to approach the game and as soon as I saw Daniel Sturridge missing from the starting line up, I knew what Klopp was doing.

A calculated risk some would argue and one that nine times out of ten will pay off. Forget the striker, play things tightly, you still have the likes of Firmino, Coutinho and Lallana who will surely bag a goal on the break... surely? Well they didn't and this for me is where the naivety, stubborness or whatever you want to call it sets in.

Klopp watched that side hold out solidly at the back against Villarreal for the first 45 minutes but he also wit…

"It's not explainable."

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A dejected Thomas Tuchel attempted to describe his feelings on a game his side had somehow just lost 4-3, "It's not explainable" he said. He's right. When you watch a team like Liverpool on a European night at Anfield, there's something in the air, nobody is quite sure what it is, it's unexplainable, but it's there. The fans can feel it, the manager can feel it but most importantly, the players feel it. It's a presence that only Liverpool seem to hold and it's the reason you can never, ever write Liverpool off... ever.

An absolutely unbelievable game against unbelievable opposition.

Before I go into a round up I would just like pay my respects to the 96 Liverpool fans who tragically lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster. Tomorrow marks the 27th anniversary of the disaster but justice is finally coming. Both fans also impeccably observed a minute's silence before the game. #JFT96

No German side has beat Liverpool at Anfield in 17 attemp…

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Borussia Dortmund

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A fantastic win over Stoke at the weekend gives Liverpool a huge boost going into this important fixture with Klopp's ex side Dortmund as the Reds look to progress to the semi-finals of the Europa League. The manager also has a tough decision to make up front as he must choose between Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge, many are predicting the former will get the call.
                                                      Image via dliga.com
Injuries
Injuries for Liverpool remain pretty much in the same state as they were for the first leg of this tie except of course that captain Jordan Henderson will not be available. Lucas has made a return and so may get a chance to feature at some point but there will be no sign of Christian Benteke who was fighting a losing battle to start ahead of Origi or Sturridge anyway.
For Dortmund, they have received a boost with some key players coming back from injury. Only Joseph-Claude Gyau and Neven Subotic are unavailable for this fixture.
Previous Me…

Three Key Points From The Dortmund Draw

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Well, that wasn't half bad was it? If you'd of told me we'd leave Germany with an away goal and a draw prior to kick off I'd have bitten your hand off. The Reds put on a valiant performance at Jurgen Klopp's old stomping ground and should feel confident upon their return to Anfield.
1) Divock Origi is an absolute legend Ok, maybe that's coming on a bit strong but I thought the Belgian utterly justified his selection over Daniel Sturridge. It was a bold decision by Jurgen Klopp to leave Sturridge on the bench but he was rewarded for his bravery after a strong performance from Divock.
I'm guilty myself of perhaps not taking Origi seriously but he deserves nothing but praise for his 84 minutes. He always gives his all in every game he features in and against Dortmund his ability to run behind the defenders appeared to work perfectly. I thought he'd messed up the goal after what looked like a questionable first touch but he remained calm and scored on 36 mi…

MATCH PREVIEW: Borussia Dortmund V Liverpool

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Jurgen Klopp takes Liverpool to his former club Borussia Dortmund on Thursday evening in what is set to be a truly special Europa League tie. Kopites assumed the clash with Manchester United would be the most exciting bar an appearance in the final but all that changed when the black and yellows were pulled out of the hat.

Injuries Injurires for Liverpool mean they are unable to call upon Christian Benteke and Lucas Leiva, it also looks as though the game has come too soon for the influential Roberto Firmino who is still on the recovery path.

***UPDATE*** - The Liverpool Echo are reporting that Roberto Firmino may in fact be available for Thursday's game.

Dortmund on the other hand are looking relatively strong but midfielder Gundogan is set to be unavailable to play at the Westfalenstadion but could be ready for the clash at Anfield.
Previous Meetings The two clubs have met on a total of three occasions in history. The first meeting back in 1966 in the European Cup Winners Cup en…

MATCH PREVIEW: Manchester United V Liverpool

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Jurgen Klopp makes the short trip to Old Trafford with his Liverpool side on Thursday as the Reds look to put the final nail in the coffin. Liverpool are 2-0 up in this Europa League tie thanks to goals from Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino and it looks like a long way back for Louis van Gaal who was forced to watch a very ineffective Manchester United at Anfield last week.

Injuries Liverpool are unable to call upon Lucas for this fixture as he is still struggling with a thigh injury. Also out are long term absentees; Stewart, Ings and Gomez. Manchester United are worse off injury wise with Rooney, Jones and Valencia amongst others all unavailable for manager Louis van Gaal.
Previous Meetings The last meeting of course was on Thursday last week, a penalty on 20 minutes opened up scoring for Liverpool with Roberto Firmino sealing the win with fifteen minutes left of the first tie. The Reds last trip to Old Trafford wasn't very pleasant after losing the game 3-1, the only saving…

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Manchester United

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It's a massive game for Liverpool on Thursday evening as Jurgen Klopp prepares his side for the first of two big clashes against rivals Manchester United in the Europa League. Liverpool enter this game on the back of a last minute win over Crystal Palace while United lost their most recent league game at the hands of West Brom.

The two clubs are steeped in history but have never met in European competition. The intense rivalry has always been present but as Manchester United have chipped away at Liverpool's title winning success there is one thing the Reds still hold over every club in England; European prowess. I don't mean to pile the pressure on but I'm pretty certain many Liverpool fans like myself will simply be unable to take a knockout.

Injuries Injuries for Liverpool mean they are unable to call upon regular starter Lucas Leiva but the squad is otherwise strong with just long term injuries making the rest of the list. Louis van Gaal's side are somewhat wors…

Milner Penalty Enough To Beat Augsburg

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The Reds sealed their place in the last sixteen of the Europa League on Thursday evening after a James Milner penalty, less than five minutes in gave them their only goal. Despite a lively performance from Jürgen Klopp's side and some key players in the starting XI, the Reds couldn't increase their goal tally.
                         Image via daily mail.co.uk: James Milner celebrates.
The Augsburg fans were raising the decibels even prior to kick off at Anfield and their plentiful support definitely appeared to bolster their side through some of the more difficult patches in the game. Luckily for the visitors though, as has been the case for a while now with Liverpool, Klopp's side just can't seem to find that clinical finish. Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho were all displaying some brilliant trickery in and around the box but when it came to that final product? Nothing.
The one chance Liverpool did convert of course was their spot kick after fiv…

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Augsburg

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It's another Europa League fixture for Liverpool on Thursday evening as the Reds aim to capitalise on a 0-0 draw collected in the first leg. With one eye on that all important League Cup final at Wembley on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp may opt to field a slightly altered XI in a match that Liverpool should on paper be able to win.

Injuries Liverpool's injury situation is much the same with the likes of Martin Skrtel, Joe Allen and Adam Lallana and Stewart still on the injury list. On a positive note some videos emerged of Danny Ings on the recovery path this week, however the forward isn't expected to be back for some time.

For Augsburg it looks as though both Ho-Hong and Feulner will be unavailable but the real blow is the doubt hanging over the fitness of Raul Bobadilla who is Augsburg's top goalscorer this season. The attacker has apparently suffered a muscle tear and will be subject to a late fitness test.
Last Match The match in Germany was a dire one to say the least, bo…

Reds Settle For A Draw In Germany

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Liverpool could only muster a 0-0 draw in their Europa League tie against Augsburg on Thirsday evening in what turned out to be a rather uneventful fixture. Jürgen Klopp fielded the same XI that took part in the 6-0 win over Aston Villa but despite having the likes of Coutinho, Firmino and Daniel Sturridge on the pitch, the Reds just couldn't find a goal.

Chances in the game were few and far between but it was Sturridge for Liverpool perhaps having the best opportunity. The likes of Moreno and Coutinho also had their moments but it was clear that this wasn't going to be another high scoring fixture. Augsburg set up well and I imagine will be pretty pleased with the 0-0 draw.
On the flip side, Augsburg actually hit the post with just four minutes to go so it could have been an even stronger result for the Germans and an embarrassing one for Klopp. The return leg is at Anfield on Thursday 25th February and with no game in between, Liverpool have the full week to prepare. 
The downs…

MATCH PREVIEW: Augsburg V Liverpool

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Liverpool travel to Jurgen Klopp's native Germany on Thursday evening as they look to reignite their Europa League efforts. With the winners of the competition gaining a place in the Champions League it may be silverware that some laugh off but Klopp is definitely not a manager to turn down an opportunity like that.

If, like many, you are wondering who Augsburg are, a few snippets about them:

Augsburg play in the Bundesliga and hail from Bavaria.In their history, they have only ever had non-German managers on two occasions.In 2011 they were runners up in Bundesliga 2.

Injuries The injury situation has improved recently for Liverpool however the Reds are still unable to call upon Martin Skrtel and Joe Allen. Lallana and Kevin Stewart have also been added to the injury list this week and it looks as though the game may come too early for Dejan Lovren.
For Augsburg, they are unable to call upon Framberger who has a cruciate ligament injury. Baier, Ho-Hong and Moravek will all be subje…

Reds Top The Group After Snore Draw

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Well, that was a drab affair to say the least. The Reds may have gone through to the round of 32, topping their group in the process but they couldn't get the better of FC Sion on Thursday night after failing to find the back of the net.

It was a stereotypical group game from the Europa League and perhaps highlights why some fans get so frustrated with the competition but the positive is, the Reds are through and were also unbeaten in the group. The 0-0 draw doesn't boost confidence levels for the Reds who did utilise some key players such as Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho.

FC Sion were relatively ineffective during the game but obviously remained cautious as they sought to progress with Liverpool to the next stage of the competition. Some wild shots at goal from the home side perhaps highlighted by an effort from Mujangi Bia late in the second half meant Simon Mignolet had very little to deal with.

Liverpool perhaps put in a slightly better performance attack wise bu…

MATCH PREVIEW: FC Sion V Liverpool

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After failing to beat Newcastle on Sunday afternoon the Reds will be hoping to get back on track with a win against FC Sion in the Europa League this Thursday. Liverpool have already guaranteed progression to the round of 32 but could also top the group providing they avoid defeat.

Injury news has been the top story for the Reds this week as over the past 24 hours Kopites were made aware that Daniel Sturridge has in fact picked up a hamstring injury. The severity of the injury isn't clear but it's a worrying time for Liverpool fans who find their patience levels wavering. Also unavailable for the Reds is Mamadou Sakho and Philippe Coutinho, however the latter did return to training on Wednesday.

For FC Sion they are unable to call upon Birama Ndoye who is suspended for this fixture. Moussa Konate has a fractured hand and so will not feature in this clash. There is also a doubt hanging over Martin Zeman who suffered an ankle injury recently.

The Reds first meeting with FC Sion…

Reds Through To Round Of 32

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After a somewhat bizarre opening goal from visitors Bordeaux, the Reds managed to seal victory at Anfield on Thursday evening and have secured their place in the last 32 of the Europa League in the process. The evening opened with bad news though after it filtered through that Daniel Sturridge would be sent for a scan on a foot injury in the morning.

The first half for Liverpool didn't get off to a magnificent start when a lapse in concentration from Simon Mignolet led to a very questionable headed clearance. Luckily Kolo Toure was around to help clean up the mess and the visitors failed to capitalise on the situation.

Christian Benteke had a brilliant game which began with a strike at the side netting, quickly followed by a goal that was ruled offside. The forward was unlucky, mistiming his run slightly but the link up play between himself and the likes of Ibe, Milner and Firmino meant he'd surely get on the scoresheet.

Just after the half hour mark Bordeaux found themselves…

MATCH PREVIEW: Liverpool V Bordeaux

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After beating Manchester City 4-1 at the weekend, Jurgen Klopp's side are brimming with confidence and will surely fancy their chances against Bordeaux at Anfield on Thursday night. The Europa League is labelled as a bit of a nuisance by many but Klopp strikes me as a man after my own heart; if there's silverware at stake, I'm chasing it.

Injuries for Liverpool mean the game will probably come too soon for Jordan Henderson who is almost back to fitness. It also looks as though the knock to Philippe Coutinho will keep him out of this fixture. Mamadou Sakho may be in contention but it would be a strange decision from Jurgen Klopp to rush the defender back to action.
Bordeaux have a few injuries to contend with, most players have been out long term however the likes of Maulun, Toure and Pablo look as though they will be unavailable for Thursday's match.
As covered in the previous match preview for the away tie, Liverpool have met Bordeaux on just two occasions prior to t…

Reds Win In Russia

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Liverpool picked up an important victory on the road in the Europa League on Thursday night as Jurgen Klopp's side managed to collect a 1-0 win over Rubin Kazan. Jordon Ibe made his second start under the new manager count as he netted for the Reds after 52 minutes.

It was a game where Liverpool bossed chances and possession but they couldn't quite convert all of their efforts in front of goal. Things got off to a good start for the Reds after James Milner watched a shot smash off the crossbar. They had started with real intent and shortly afterwards a lovely cross from Clyne was heading for Benteke but Kverkvelia blocked successfully.

Late in the first half it was the Russian keeper Ryzhikov who had kept his side in the game after a wonderful reaction save which prevented an own goal. I'm not sure how much he knew of the first ricochet from the double stop but it was a brilliant piece of goalkeeping.

Kazan made a substitution immediately for the start of the second half …

MATCH PREVIEW: Rubin Kazan V Liverpool

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It's my birthday!!! Just thought I'd get that in there, yer know, seen as though I'm taking time out to write this match preview for you all...Haha, but seriously, Jurgen Klopp faces a difficult trip to Russia on Thursday evening as the Reds look to improve their situation in the Europa League group.

Injuries for Liverpool mean they are still unable to call upon Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson however it is believed the boss is going to be taking a strong squad for this match. Unavailable though is Teixeira who is ineligible as he was never named in Liverpool's Europa League squad list.

It's nice to see Klopp taking this match so seriously but then I suppose he has to with the situation we are in. Maybe if Rodgers hadn't played such weakened sides we'd be far more comfortable at this stage but nevermind!

For Rubin Kazan they have a relatively strong squad to choose from but they will be unable to call upon Oleg Kuzmin who is currently the clubs third…

Reds Draw With Ten Man Kazan

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Liverpool managed just a draw at home against Rubin Kazan on Thursday evening, despite the fact the visiting side played the majority of the game with ten men. Whilst this kind of result may have been questioned under Brendan Rodgers, for Jürgen Klopp it is simply a matter of finding his team in a pool of frankly average players. 
With injuries to contend with and the realisation that some of his team members just aren't up to scratch it is clear Liverpool struggled to really put the pressure on Kazan, however there are players who appear to have instantly benefited from Klopp’s influence such as Adam Lallana and Emre Can. 
Rubin Kazan were always going to pose an unknown factor on their visit to Anfield but I'm not sure anyone expected them to get off the mark so quickly. After a sustained period from the visitors it was Devic who finished neatly to put his side ahead. Perhaps aided by some poor defending from Clyne in particular, Devic still did very well to bring the ball …