John Aldridge: This is a make-or-break night for Jurgen Klopp and a lot of his players
John Aldridge believes Liverpool’s immediate future may be dictated by the outcome of Wednesday night’s Europa League final against Sevilla in Basel.
Anfield goal scoring great Aldo suggests victory for Jurgen Klopp’s side could transform the club’s fortunes in the next two or three years, with a place in next season’s Champions League on offer for the winner of Wednesday night’s showdown in Switzerland.
“The Europa League final is likely to have a huge impact on Liverpool’s future for years to come…and the aftershocks will shape the Jurgen Klopp era at Anfield,” Aldridge told sundayworld.com.
“Pressure goes with the territory when you are handed the honour of pulling on that famous red shirt and as one of the fortunate few who had the chance to do just that, I speak from experience on that score.
“The significance of this single 90 minutes of football may define Jurgen Klopp’s tenure as Liverpool manager, with the German knocking on the door of a very special achievement.
“He could join the elite list of Liverpool managers to lift a European trophy for the club, with the other prize up for grabs raising the stakes to a whole new level.
“A Champions League place is handed to the Europa League winners and if Klopp can go into the upcoming transfer window with a place in Europe’s elite competition to use as bargaining power, his hand will be hugely strengthened.”
Former Republic of Ireland striker Aldridge suggests Daniel Sturridge will be the key man for Liverpool in Basel, with his “cautious optimism” for a Reds win sprinkled with a dose of reality.
“Sturridge is the match winner who has the class to tip the balance of the game in Liverpool’s favour,” adds Aldo.
“He seems to have been trying to prove himself to Klopp since returning from his latest injury and if he scores the goals that secure passage to the Champions League, he will go a long way to ensuring that he will start up front for Klopp next season.
“Alternatively, a defeat against Sevilla and more than a few players may be edged out of the club, so this is a make or break night for so many reasons.
“It will come as no surprise that I’m backing Liverpool to get the job done against Sevilla, but only if the manager gets his tactics right and Klopp’s key men play at the peak of their powers.
“Anything less and Liverpool will end up regretting their missed opportunity in Basel for a long, long time.”