Even at this early stage of the 2017/18 football season, Liverpool have already overcome two huge tests of their credentials.
Having been handed an Champions League qualifier against Hoffenheim, some pundits were even questioning whether the Reds would make it to the competition proper. But a 6-3 aggregate victory confirmed that Jurgen Klopp’s side have got the mental resilience to go with their undoubted prowess on the pitch.
And then the second test came in the Premier League against Arsenal, who would surely test their credentials to the limit. Well, the 4-0 victory that Liverpool claimed was an emphatic confirmation that this season they have taken their game to the next level.
The same perhaps cannot be said about their first Champions League group stage opponents, Sevilla. The Spaniards were outstanding in the first half of the 2016/17 campaign, but from March onwards their form in La Liga read W5 D5 L4. They’ve started this term with a couple of humdrum results, drawing with Espanyol before narrowly squeaking past Getafe by one goal to nil.
So by all accounts Liverpool should probably be a hot favourite to get their Champions League account up and running with a win on Wednesday, September 13; but can the English outfit get the job done?
1. The Bookies Choice
Almost all Liverpool vs Sevilla Predictions indicate the bookmakers are in no doubt as to how this match will finish, with Liverpool as short as 1.75 to get the win at Anfield.
Sevilla can be backed at long odds of 5.00, with the draw available at 4.00.
2. Where the Money Is
These are, to all intents and purposes, two teams heading in different directions. Liverpool has improved markedly this term, and the signing of Mohamed Salah has added a new dimension to their attacking play. Even without the injured Adam Lallana, the Reds have blasted 14 goals in their last five matches.
Sevilla, meanwhile, aren’t quite the side that enjoyed such glory in the Europa League. They lost manager Jorge Sampaoli to Argentina, as well as the likes of Grzegorz Krychowiak, Ever Banega, Fernando Llorente, Aleix Vidal, Vitolo and Adil Rami, and it is simply difficult to replace that many quality players in such a short space of time.
Double chance - Best odds
Sevilla, then, are expected to regress to being one of the better teams in Spain without challenging the top four, which is arguably their natural level.
It is hard to overlook the free-flowing football that Liverpool are playing at present, and even with their well-documented defensive woes they are still a solid bet in front of their passionate home fans on big European nights such as this one.
Sevilla’s opening two games have showcased a team that is conservative in its approach and unwilling to take risks on the road, but really they will not be able to defend for 90 minutes and keep the Reds at bay.
Most popular betting tips say the best tactic when playing Liverpool is to fight fire with fire – Watford did it in their 3-3 draw with the Merseysiders, so our selection here is Liverpool to Win & Both Teams to Score at 3.30.
Will Liverpool’s excellent early season form continue at Anfield, or can Sevilla spring an early Champions League shock?