By TALES AZZONI
AP Sports Writer
MADRID (AP) – Don’t expect Sevilla to take too many risks when it hosts Liverpool in the Champions League on Tuesday even though a victory would secure the Spanish club a berth in the knockout stages for the second straight season.
Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo said on Monday his team must play cautiously and avoid going all out on attack at Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium in Seville.
“These big games often bring great expectations, but we must play smart and avoid a crazy back-and-forth game,” Berizzo said. “This type of game will not benefit us. We must have the composure to pick the right plan and execute it with balance.”
The Argentine coach said Sevilla struggled in the “quick transition” match the teams played in September at Anfield, which ended 2-2.
“We suffered against their speed when we gave the ball away. We were not set up properly and we will have to keep that in mind. We can’t afford to lose the ball recklessly because Liverpool will make you pay.”
Liverpool arrives in Sevilla at the top of Group E, one point ahead of Sevilla.
Spartak Moscow, which hosts Maribor, is three points off the lead.
The Liverpool-Sevilla winner will make the last 16 with one round to go.
A draw could also be good for Sevilla and Liverpool, as the English club hosts Spartak on the final day, and Sevilla is at last-place Maribor, which has only one point. Liverpool can advance with a draw in Seville if Spartak loses to Maribor.
“This is the game of the Champions League so far (for us),” Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp said on Monday. “(Sevilla) have quite a good home record and it’s a tough place to go. It will be very interesting and very challenging. I am really looking forward to it.”
Klopp will be without defender Joel Matip as he nurses a knock on his right thigh, but attacking midfielder Adam Lallana made the trip to Seville after recovering from a thigh problem that has kept him from playing this season.
Sevilla defeated five-time European champion Liverpool in the 2016 Europa League final, keeping the English club from making it to the Champions League last season.
Liverpool hasn’t played in the knockout stages of the Champions League since 2009, when its run was halted by Chelsea in the quarterfinals.
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