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Exactly who are Liverpool's Europa League opponents FC Sion?

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When Liverpool were drawn against FC Sion in Group B of the Europa League, there weren't many fans who had heard of them before.

Many thought Sion were another eastern European side who had been through umpteen qualifying stages to reach the groups. So, just who are FC Sion?

History

Sion is a small town in the south-west of Switzerland and has a population of just over 30,000. FC Sion were founded in 1909 by Robert Gilliard and the club prospered due to local involvement.

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Despite never winning the Swiss Super League, they have triumphed twice in the country's second division and have won the Swiss Cup no less than 15 times, with only Grasshopper Club Zurich winning the tournament more.

Last Season

Whereas Swiss football fans are used to witnessing FC Basel dominating the domestic scene, Sion bucked that trend in the last campaign.

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Christian Constantin's men only finished seventh in the Swiss League and were 33 points adrift of 2015 champions Basel.

However, Sion's strong cup heritage is woven into the club's history and they won the domestic cup for a third time in seven seasons.

They defeated FC Zurich 1-0 in the last four thanks to a Moussa Konate second-half strike to set up a clash Basel in the final.

RotBlau were heavy favourites heading into the match and their name was all but written on the trophy for and 11th time.

But, Sion produced one of the biggest shocks in Swiss football history and, through an inspired performance from Carlitos, ran away with the game 3-0.

Previous Meetings

Kopites will remember when Liverpool last faced Sion in a European competition. Almost 20 years ago, in the now-deceased European Cup Winners' Cup was the only time the two teams have met previously.

The Reds were easy winners of the second-round clash in 1996. Robbie Fowler and John Barnes were on the scoresheet in the 2-1 win in the first leg in Switzerland.

It was the return game at Anfield that will be remembered mostly. The game was a free-scoring affair from both sides - a typical performance under then-manager Roy Evans and supporters of both teams went home with an incredible value for money.

Liverpool ran out 6-3 winners but the travellers certainly did not embarrass themselves.

Star Player

Captain Vilmos Vanczak is Sion's most recognisable players to die-hard football fans. The 32-year-old has been with Sion since 2007 and racked up over 200 appearances playing at right or centre back.

Vanczak may be a defender but he will look to expose the frailties of Brendan Rodgers' defence and has netted over 30 times for his club.

He too has a wealth of experience on the international scene and has been capped 80 times for Hungary since making his debut in 2004 and will look to lead his side to a famous victory at Anfield on Thursday night.

The one play who Liverpool will certainly have to keep tags on is Moussa Konate. At just 22-years-old he has built a stellar reputation playing for Sion.

Konate has proved himself to be one of Europe's greatest young talents and netted 21 goals from 35 appearances for Sion. 

He too has been an inspiration for Senegal and scored five times in ten matches for his country.

What are your score predictions for Liverpool vs FC Sion? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Topics:
Premier League
Liverpool
Brendan Rodgers
Europa League
Football

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