Saturday 22 October 2016

'It means nothing'- Jurgen Klopp unimpressed by Sevilla's stellar Europa League pedigree

Tom Rooney

Published 17/05/2016 | 15:29

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has completely dismissed the idea that Sevilla’s incredible Europa League track record in recent times will give them any advantage in tomorrow night’s final.

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Should the La Liga side triumph in Basel, they will become the first club in history to win Europe’s secondary competition three times in a row. Indeed, it will be their fifth such title since 2006.

Liverpool last contested a European final in 2007, when they lost to AC Milan by 2-1 in the Champions League decider.  So, in terms of pedigree over the last decade, there is a considerable disparity between the Reds and the Spaniards.

This, according Jurgen Klopp, counts for very little.  And, as he seeks to secure a first piece of silverware after less than a season at the helm, the German all but scoffed at Sevilla’s achievements.

“When you are experienced, it doesn’t mean you have an advantage, it’s only one part of all the parts around the game and in the game you have to rule or solve,” Klopp told the Liverpool website.

“There’s no advantage for one team. If you won it last year, what does it mean? If you won it two years ago, what does it mean? Actually nothing, so it’s another game.”

Klopp went on to claim that researching Sevilla was a near redundant enterprise because their selections have drastically differed of late, and that they may be in a different place to the Reds given their season does not end tomorrow. Sevilla will face Barcelona in the Copa Del Rey final on Sunday night.

“To be honest, we could stop scouting two weeks ago because they changed the team completely. What we know is that they have another game after this game.

“They have a big final again. They have two finals, that’s a big difference. They didn’t care in the last two games about the league – that was a big difference to our schedule and our way we had to go.  But they are quite experienced and will be ready too, no doubt about this.”

Perhaps Klopp’s braggadocio is a consequence of his side confounding expectations in the latter stages of the competition; Manchester United were coolly dispatched of, while then heavy favourites Borussia Dortmund were accounted for in the quarter final.

Moreover, Liverpool were positively imperious in their semi final second leg dismantling of Villarreal.

Liverpool’s league form has often wavered since Klopp took over from Brendan Rogers in October, but improvements to individuals and the collective have certainly been evident.

Finishing the season in eighth is far from ideal, but a victory tomorrow evening would see the Merseyside outfit return to the Champions League.

Such an achievement would imbue the club both financially and physiologically, while copper fastening their progress under Klopp. 

This, of course, is not lost on the gregarious coach, who has endeared himself to not only the Liverpool faithful but the entire English game.

“There’s nothing else to think about. Focusing is a very important part of preparation and in this case it’s pretty easy to be focused. That’s the biggest difference to all of the other games we’ve had until now, even when it was the semi-final or quarter-final. That’s a big difference.

“That’s why we (travelled) to Basel on Monday. We have nothing else to do, to be honest. There’s nothing more important in this moment. It’s not about putting the pressure higher and higher, it’s about getting the right atmosphere,” he said.

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