Analyzing how a Liverpool-Bayer Leverkusen Europa League Final could play out

The two favorites left in the UEL could be on a collision course in Dublin.

The draw for the Europa League Quarterfinals unveiled that Liverpool is going to combat Atalanta on April 11, Bayer Leverkusen, the other powerhouse of the tournament, popped out against West Ham on the other side.

This has sparked a conversation among football fans about what if both teams meet in the Final? Not just the two teams' dominant play in their respective countries, but also the Leverkusen manager Xabi Alonso, the former Liverpool legend that currently leads his team undefeated so far this season and holds off Bayern by 10 points on the top,

Despite Alonso's confirmation of extending his tenure in Leverkusen, you will find something interesting to discuss about the pending matchup by mapping out details of both teams.

Sounds ideal as the tournament is still in the quarter-finals phase, we can still turn this dream matchup into a more realistic setting if thinking about Liverpool's ambition to win more.

Leverkusen’s Playing Style and Its Similarities to Liverpool

Being affected by his footballing career with Liverpool, Real Madrid, and Bayern, Alonso values possession in large part and emphasizes its importance of controlling the game.

Under his tenure, Leverkusen can dictate the pace of the match and patiently find the opponent’s defensive holes, only recording four games under 50% possession.

Already feel a sense of familiarity? Not enough yet. To regain dominance on the ball, you have to press for it. Thus, Alonso has put high-pressing into his agenda, the team then created plenty of shooting chances and contributes goals multiple times throughout the strategy. 

If you believe a comeback is a proprietary term for Liverpool, Alonso may remain unfazed since he just orchestrated a phenomenal one in the Round of 16 of the Europa League.0

In the first leg against Qarabag, Leverkusen chased back two goals to tie the game in regulation; In the second leg, they tallied two goals in extra time while trailing 1-2. This is the best outcome for the team which relentlessly controls the ball and seeks chances in the second half.

Moreover, Leverkusen is capable of making fluid attacks even with a lower percentage of possession, while keeping its defense at a solid level.

Against Bayern in February, Leverkusen made one of their most enjoyable victories of the season with only 39% possession. With a 5-2-2 formation, Leverkusen solidified their line on the back while playing the remaining four narrowly to contract the space for Bayern’s midfielders.

Adding up with their pressing, Leverkusen can easily regain short-term possessions for comeback plays. In this 3-0 victory, Leverkusen registered 14 shots with eight on target, while Bayern only had nine in total.

How Liverpool can surpass the Bundesliga's top team

With that being said, there are a series of similarities between Leverkusen and Liverpool. However, Liverpool is disadvantaged due to its apparent defensive frailties in front of a more resistant Leverkusen.

As Andrew Robertson’s injury during his international duty recently pierces the ear, Liverpool should raise their defense as high as possible. Simultaneously, the Reds should learn lessons from the stumbling loss to Man United in the FA Cup before the international break.

In the Europa League, Leverkusen has 242 shot-creating actions and 39 goals-created while Liverpool has 243 and 43 respectively. It is possible to expect a fight with many goals if both teams might as well concentrate on the offense.

Let’s hope Liverpool can transcend a little bit if the team can maintain a higher defensive level.

Given Alonso's preference for conquering possession-based games and possibly employing a formation that focuses on central play, Liverpool could be successful by exploiting the wide areas.

Leverkusen's 5-2-2 formation could leave spaces in each flank when these players push forward. Liverpool could capitalize on these spaces to create goal-scoring opportunities.

What else? Just keep showcasing the advantages. Known for its high pressing and fast comeback plays, Liverpool could take advantage of these aspects despite having five Leverkusen players back to cope with.

By applying pressure on Leverkusen's players, especially when they attempt to play out from the back, Liverpool can force errors and win the ball at the front.

Last but not least, the midfield battle. Having the same level of quality, Liverpool had to make sure it would not be outnumbered during the game. With Wataru Endo, Dominik Szoboszlai, or other solid options in the middle, Liverpool is able to combine higher physicality by employing three men.

Potential Score Prediction: Liverpool 3-2 Leverkusen