The stars are aligned and it's time for Jurgen Klopp to lead Liverpool to the Champions League. The truth is that their form in the Premier League has been worryingly patchy at times but, the roots of success are bedding in and you need only look at the recent Europa League performances to know why Liverpool fans have that 'next year will be...' feeling all over again.
Regardless of what happens in Basel tonight, Klopp is going to be taking a fairly severe hatchet to the Liverpool squad list this summer. Champions League or not, there's a lot that he's going to want to change and although he may be confident that he can achieve that without a place at Europe's top table next season, the reality of the matter is that, even for Klopp, the Liverpool project will be a much easier sell if there's Champions League football on offer.
And with the wins over Man United and Dortmund still fresh in their minds, Liverpool fans have every reason to be confident that a return to Champions League football is only 90 minutes away. And although you'd be rather foolish to say it aloud, on paper, Sevilla are not at the level of Dortmund or United.
Yet the Andalusians have made this competition their own in recent seasons and there's absolutely no chance that Klopp will allow his players to walk out at St. Jakob-Park thinking that they already have their hands on that rather beautiful Europa League trophy. And all that gives us our yearly opportunity to take a look at what a fascinating club Sevilla have developed into in recent seasons.
Since their return to Spain's top flight in 2001, Sevilla have never finished below tenth in La Liga. They've never finished above third either but it's the consistency of it all that is most impressive and there's one man that is given the vast bulk of credit for that.
Managers have come and gone in that time but the one constant in it all is Monchi. Any number of insightful column inches have been dedicated to Sevilla's sporting director and tonight's Europa League final called for more. The Guardian yesterday ran an extremely interesting insight from Sid Lowe into the workings of Sevilla under Monchi and the thing which many readers will have taken away is the fantasy starting XI that the former goalkeeper is extremely proud of.
Where most would look back on a team of League champions, Monchi looks back on a fantasy team that he was able to sell at massive profit. Identify, scout, buy and eventually sell. That's the mantra that has kept Sevilla challenging in La Liga and winning trophies.
The following lineup according to Lowe was purchased for just €25m and sold for €170m.
When you include the players that Monchi didn't have to buy but could still sell at sometimes ludicrous prices, it gets even more impressive. Sevilla's youth system has been as impressive as any in Spain and if there's a good business deal to be made then homegrown players will be allowed to leave the club provided the fee is met.
Football is not about a bottom line and Monchi freely admits that “No one takes a ‘what great economic results’ banner to the stadium”. However, Sevilla are not in the position to challenge Real and Barca and financial prudence is a vastly underrated trait in modern football. With Monchi in charge, Sevilla may not be winning La Liga titles but they're winning trophies and always looking ahead as opposed to over their shoulder.
All the talk in this part of the world may be about the Klopp revolution kicking into full gear tonight, but the steady revolution that will keep turning at Sevilla no matter what happens this evening is just as interesting a story.
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