In case anyone watches the match and wants to comment, here is an opportunity to comment! I'm looking forward to this matchup; for Sevilla it has been a hugely disappointing season in La Liga and I don't think this team is anywhere near as good as the one that won the trophy last season.
Liverpool gave a tremendous effort against Villarreal after coming back from the dead against Dortmund. Can they do it again?
Some interesting articles about Sevilla in the last couple of days:
In Bed with Maradona (now there's a scary thought) has an article on Sevilla's love affair with the Europa League.
Sid Lowe has an excellent article on Sevilla sporting director Monchi and the work he does to keep the club competitive--worth a read, especially since Villarreal pretty much have to do the same thing--buy the players for €3-5m, develop them, sell for €20m, rinse and repeat, with lots of changes every year.
Will Jurgen Klopp win a major trophy for the Reds? Or will it be Sevilla who lift the trophy again?
Unai Emery is a difficult coach to beat in a big game like this, and expect him to do something different tactically to counter Liverpool's high-pressing game. A lot could ride on whether the referee for the final, Swede Jonas Eriksson, lets Liverpool get away with the sort of play they indulged in against Villarreal without punishment from an indulgent referee. I don't think Mr. Eriksson will be as influenced by the crowd in this match, which would help Sevilla, though I expect in general he will allow the game to flow and won't penalize the sort of ticky-tack fouls that often get called in La Liga.
Sevilla apparently returned about 2000 of their 10000-ticket allocation to UEFA, and Liverpool snapped those up. UEFA has warned to be on the lookout for fake tickets which look identical, except for the hologram not being high-quality, and warned Liverpool supporters not to go to the final without tickets.
Next year the final will be at a bigger stadium--50,000 seats--and in a bigger city, Stockholm. Basel, it turns out, is only convenient for FIFA and UEFA functionaries.
I suspect a lot of Villarreal supporters--certainly those of us who traveled to Merseyside--will be cheering for Liverpool, though if Sevilla wins our club coefficient improves a bit--but only a bit. Keep in mind Villarreal has an interesting record in this competition:
2004 lost in semis to Valencia (eventual winner)
2005 lost in quarters to AZ (who lost in semis)
2008 lost in round of 32 to Zenit (eventual winner)
2009 lost in round of 32 to Wolfsburg (eliminated in quarterfinals)
2011 lost in semis to Porto (eventual winner)
2015 lost in round of 16 to Sevilla (eventual winner)
2016 lost in semis to Liverpool ......
Who will you be supporting? Or will you care? Let us know!