???️ How Far Have Liverpool Come Since The Europa League Final?

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Liverpool vs Sevilla, Wednesday 18th May 2016, a day that every Liverpool fan will want to forget. Meeting Sevilla for the first time in the clubs history Jurgen Klopp’s team were looking to stop Sevilla’s streak of successively winning the Europa League and make up for the heartbreaking League Cup loss to Manchester City on penalties.
You don’t need me to remind you what happened, Sevilla came from behind to win the game 3-1 and secure their third Europa League in as many years. The game was the final straw for some players in the eyes of the fans and it was expected that a few would be shipped out that summer and replacements brought in. As it goes, only one player would make way that summer with Kolo Toure running down his contract so as Liverpool face Sevilla for the third time in their Champions League game this week how far has the squad come?
Everyone, probably including Moreno, thought that the left backs Liverpool career was over after that performance against Sevilla. Unable to put a foot right, Sevilla targeted the weakness and the exploitation of Alberto Moreno was what handed them the victory. 18 months later and Moreno is a revitalised man, now one of the first names on the teamsheet Moreno is arguably one of the clubs better defenders and his turn in form has meant that new boy Andy Robertson has struggled to get first team action at left back. Alberto Moreno’s change of fortunes is even more spectacular when you consider that he spent the majority of last season on the bench with James Milner preferred in his position, now undroppable, Moreno will be looking to set the record straight against his former team in the Champions League.
Another player who found himself under fire was Mignolet, deemed as not good enough by the majority, his performances left Klopp feeling like he had no choice but to sign Loris Karius that summer. Just like the previously mentioned Moreno, the signing of some competition for places has brought up the goalkeepers performances to another level, Mignolet won Liverpool points on his own at stages last season and with both Karius and Ward waiting on the sideline the Belgian is going to have to ensure that his performance level doesn’t drop.
The only player who hasn’t developed since that final is Dejan Lovren, whilst not the main culprit that night he didnt cover himself in glory either and his involvment in the Liverpool team is still a subject of conversation today. His performance against Spurs at Wembley was the low point of his Liverpool career and whilst he made his first start since that game against Southampton, Liverpool’s pursuit of Virgil Van Dijk means that he has a lot of work on his hands to impress the manager and stay in the starting line up.
Liverpool’s starting XI on that day was Mignolet; Clyne, Lovren, Toure, Moreno; Lallana, Milner, Can, Coutinho; Firmino, Sturridge. Since that final recruitment and man management has meant that Liverpool look a completely different side. Whilst there are still some defensive worries at times the team from the final was packed with creativity but no pace and runners in behind. The acquisitions of Salah and Mane have solved that, both players had provided width to the team as well as an abundance of pace. The team now has outlets on either side of the pitch that can break with speed and the front three of Mane, Firmino and Salah with Coutinho and Lallana behind can cause problems for any team in the world.
Despite the fact that the defeat to Sevilla was the last final Liverpool played in, the team has hit its objectives so far and if the development continues then silverware looks more likely in the future. In the summer following the cup final the club was in a position where they had to be smart about who they signed and had to look abroad and to lower Premier League clubs for their players, now Liverpool are back competing with the big boys in the transfer market; signing off rivals and other Champions League quality players for a squad that can compete on all fronts going into the future.
The development of both clubs is plain to see with them facing off in the Champions League as opposed to the lesser Europa League, Liverpool have lost once and drawn once to Sevilla but with the group hanging in the balance Jurgen Klopp and his team will hope that they can show up to the Ramon Sanchez stadium and secure qualification to the knockout rounds of the competition.
Article by Loui Connor
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