Whether or not Liverpool’s manager will regret leaving Daniel Sturridge on the bench at Villarreal remains to be seen, but ahead of the second leg there is the small matter of a Premier League clash against Swansea.
Jurgen Klopp’s decision not to give Sturridge at least a cameo in Europe looked a flawed one even before the Reds succumbed to a late Villarreal sucker punch.
Without the England striker in attack for the entire match, Liverpool’s superior possession at Estadio El Madrigal never looked like counting for much, as Klopp’s side really struggled to carve out genuine chances.
Sturridge only needs a moment
In Sturridge, the Reds have a centre-forward who can create something from nothing, and they may well pay a hefty price for his omission by missing out on Europa League glory.
With that tie unfavourably balanced against them, the onus is now on Liverpool to continue their strong finish to the Premier League campaign, in order that other avenues to securing European football for next season stay open.
In short, Klopp cannot afford to leave his prolific frontman out against Swansea next. The Welsh side have been turned over twice on the road leading into the Liberty Stadium clash and a reaction will be expected.
Premier League form and head-to-heads record
Newcastle hit Francesco Guidolin’s underachieving squad for three before champions-elect Leicester fired four past them without reply latterly.
With these results in mind, Liverpool might have been expected to be stronger than 13/10 favourites for the points.
Despite searching for a sixth consecutive Premier League win over their 2/1-rated Welsh counterparts however, Swansea have proven far tougher to beat of home recently.
They have conquered the last three visitors to the Liberty 1-0, albeit two of those clubs, relegated Aston Villa and Norwich, are in the current bottom three.
Liverpool will surely look to Sturridge this time around in their quest to penetrate the home rearguard as the former Chelsea man is on fire in the top flight.
Reds 50-goal man is in a real purple patch
Studger has netted in each of his last four Premier League appearances and he will be fully intent in demonstrating to Klopp that this form is too good to ignore in Thursday’s crunch Villarreal rematch.
The Liverpool ace is 7/2 to open the scoring for a second successive league game, 5/4 anytime and 6/1 to bag two or more.
It’s 23/10 that the number 15 scores as part of an away win.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.