Liverpool midfielder Emre Can believes the Reds’ legendary battling qualities can help end their 11-year wait for a continental trophy against treble-chasing Sevilla in Wednesday’s Europa League final.
In their first European final since defeat by AC Milan in the 2007 Champions League, Liverpool are bidding to scupper the Spanish side’s bid for an unprecedented third straight Europa League title at Basel’s St. Jakob-Park.
It brings Liverpool’s breathtaking journey through the competition under new manager Jurgen Klopp to a thrilling climax, following dramatic wins over Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and Villarreal in recent months.
After seeing his side sink Villarreal brilliantly to reach the final, Klopp declared: “To go to a final you need a little bit of luck in decisive moments, but most of the time you need outstanding performances.
“Now we are there, and it’s a great opportunity and we will take it.”
Liverpool’s fans should be getting excited, but as the only team to successfully defend the trophy on two occasions, in 2007 and 2015, and with a record four Uefa Cup/Europa League titles, silky-smooth Sevilla are arguably under less pressure.
Can wants to seize his chance in his first final with the club, but says a collective show of force will be required against the tough La Liga side.
“Sevilla know how to play in the Europa League,” Can told Liverpool’s website. “They’ve won the last two Europa League titles, and so it will be a very tough game, but if we show what we are able to do as a team then we can win the final.”
Five-time European champions Liverpool, who have also won the Europa League and its predecessor the Uefa Cup three times, have often provided drama on the European stage.
In their last Europa League success, in 2001, they triumphed after a nine-goal thriller against Deportivo Alaves only after Delfi Geli scored a ‘golden goal’ own goal in extra time.
Four years later, Liverpool staged arguably the greatest comeback in Champions League final history by overcoming a three-goal half-time deficit against AC Milan to force the Italians into extra time then penalty kicks, winning their fifth title 3-2 from the spot.
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