SINSHEIM, GERMANY - Tuesday, August 15, 2017: The official Adidas match-ball during the UEFA Champions League Play-Off 1st Leg match between TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and Liverpool at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s Champions League opponents Sevilla win big ahead of Anfield meeting

While Liverpool’s preparations for a return to the UEFA Champions League were hit by defeat, forthcoming opponents Sevilla took three points and fielded a strong lineup.

The Reds and their supporters have been waiting since 2014/15 for a new chance to show their worth on the premiere European stage proper, but there will be no welcome party and easy three points on Wednesday.

Jurgen Klopp‘s troops will have to be at their best to compete with and see off a resurgent Sevilla side, much-changed since the 2015 Europa League final but heading into the fixture in improved form.

A weekend win over Eibar lifts Sevilla into third in the fledgling La Liga table, with the 3-0 scoreline coming courtesy of second-half strikes from Ganso, Wissam Ben Yedder and Nolito.

Eduardo Berizzo’s side took a couple of matches to get into their stride this season but they were impressive in controlling the match at the weekend and were full value for the three-goal victory.

Key patterns from the success over Eibar to watch out for in midweek included Nolito being a frequent focal point for building attacks, Steve N’Zonzi’s surges from deep and the penetrative runs of Sebastien Corchia from right-back, off the bench on this occasion.

BASEL, SWITZERLAND - Wednesday, May 18, 2016: Sevilla's Steven N'Zonzi in action against Liverpool during the UEFA Europa League Final at St. Jakob-Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There was also a late debut for the extremely talented Johannes Geis in midfield.

Elsewhere in Liverpool’s group, there were contrasting fortunes for Spartak Moscow and Maribor.

The Russian outfit ended up 1-0 winners over Rubin Kazan in the Premier League, lifting them up to eighth in the 16-team league after a tricky start to the campaign.

Maribor, meanwhile, drew 0-0 at home to lowly Celje on Friday night, leaving them second in the 1.SNL, trailing leaders Olimpija by two points.

The Slovenian outfit host Spartak on Wednesday while the Reds are entertaining Sevilla in Group E.

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