Liverpool and Sevilla have graced seven UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League finals between them and one will experience their first loss in such a match when they meet on Wednesday.
Sevilla is bidding to become the first team to win the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League in three consecutive seasons – Real Madrid is the other side that has gone back to back – but one thinks that the Red and Whites will not make history with a victory over Liverpool at St Jakob Park in Basel.
Bookmakers have installed Sevilla as the UEFA Europa League final underdog and one agrees with their assessment of the Red and Whites because their form away from their Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan home ground is terrible. Sevilla was the only Spanish Primera Division side to finish the competition without a road win and its away points tally of nine was inferior to every team except Levante. Sevilla has not tasted victory outside Spain since it came from behind to beat Dnipro 3-2 in last term’s UEFA Europa League final.
One acknowledges that the UEFA Europa League final is not, strictly speaking, a road game for Sevilla because St Jakob Park constitutes neutral territory. But clearly something goes amiss with Sevilla when it plays anywhere other than inside its own stadium and one is confident that Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will drilling into his players that their Red and Whites counterparts may have psychological issues.
With regards to betting on the outcome of the UEFA Europa League final, Liverpool to lift aloft the trophy at odds of -133 with Ladbrokes rates as one’s idea of the best bet. But one thinks that punting on over 10 and a half corner kicks – bookmakers will go up with corners lines before the UEFA Europa League final kicks off and that is the most common line – is the optimal way to attack the title decider.
Twenty-five of Sevilla’s 38 Spanish Primera Division matches went over 10 and a half corner kicks, including 13 of its 19 away games. Sevilla took more corner kicks than any Spanish Primera Division side other than Real Madrid and it ranked seventh for conceding corners. Twenty of Liverpool’s 38 English Premier League matches went over 10 and a half corner kicks, including 10 of its 19 away matches. Liverpool took more corner kicks than any other English Premier League team, although it was much better at not conceding corners.
Finally, UEFA has appointed Jonas Eriksson to referee the UEFA Europa League final so one has dug out the Swedish official’s cards data. Eriksson has referred just one UEFA Europa League game this season – Braga against Shakhtar Donetsk – and in it he brandished three yellow cards. Eriksson has controlled six UEFA Champions League/UEFA Europa League matches this term for 29 yellow cards and one red card. Eriksson does like to keep games 11 players versus 11 players – he has shown only four red cards in his 29 international appointments dating back to January 2014.
Eriksson may have his hands full in Basel, though. Sevilla received eight red cards in its 38 Spanish Primera Division matches – just Vallecano picked up more – and the Red and Whites waved goodbye to 10 opponents, which was a league high. Liverpool were slightly worse behaved than the average English Premier League during its recent domestic campaign.
It is worth bearing in mind that up for grabs is not only the UEFA Europa League trophy but also a berth in next season’s UEFA Champions League. Either Liverpool or Sevilla will enter the UEFA Champions League at the group stage.
Liverpool to win the Europa League
Wednesday 18th May, 19:45 GMT
Liverpool v Sevilla – Over 10.5 Corners
Wednesday 18th May, 19:45 GMT
Odds: N/A at time of writing