Liverpool expected 4-2-3-1 v Sevilla; Midfield duo omitted and key attacker starts
PREVIEW By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Jordan Henderson, Joe Allen and Divock Origi are likely to have to settle for places on the substitute’s bench for the Europa League final.
Fit-again duo Henderson and Origi would be expected to start for Liverpool in Basle were they not returning from lengthy injury absences but Wednesday’s showdown against Sevilla is likely to have come too soon for them.
Allen has consistently impressed since the turn of the year but he is likely to once again miss out in a marquee match.
All of the outfield players who started the semi-final second leg triumph over Villarreal and the 1-1 draw against Chelsea six days later were rested from the matchday squad that drew 1-1 against West Brom in the club’s final league game of the season on Sunday.
Bar goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, the 10 starters against Villarreal and Chelsea were all given a rest as Jurgen Klopp took no chances amid fears they could pick up an injury that would rule them out of Liverpool’s first European final in nine years.
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Defenders Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren, Kolo Toure and Alberto Moreno, midfielders Emre Can and James Milner, and attacking quartet Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge will all now be confident they are to join Mignolet in the starting line-up in Wednesday’s clash in Basle.
Origi did not make the squad for the Hawthorns clash but he was part of the 22-man players’ group that flew to Switzerland on Monday.
Skipper Henderson played the final half-hour at West Brom after a month on the sidelines with a knee injury but he admitted at the pre-match press conference on Tuesday that he does not expect to be in the starting X1 on Wednesday.
Can is set to be partnered in central midfield by Klopp favourite Milner, with the pair just behind the holy trinity of Lallana, Firmino and Coutinho.
Sturridge missed out in the first leg against Villarreal as Liverpool played without a recognised striker but the England international was so impressive in the return clash that he should be confident of starting the final.
Meanwhile, other senior players like Martin Skrtel, Christian Benteke, and Lucas are likely to have to rely on a late injury to one of the key first teamers to make the line-up in Basle.
Liverpool probable X1: Mignolet; Clyne, Toure, Lovren, Moreno; Milner, Can; Lallana, Firmino, Coutinho; Sturridge.