Udinese v Liverpool
Uefa Europa League Group A,
Thursday December 6th, 2012, 18:00 (UK)
The final round of Uefa Europa League group stage matches are upon us. Group A is set to be determined with Liverpool still in with a chance of making it through to the knockout stages of the competition.
Brendan Rodgers and his side had hoped to have already qualified by the time this match rolled around, but a late equaliser for BSC Young Boys in the previous round at Anfield means the group goes right down to the final round of matches.
Liverpool travel to Italy to face Udinese (bottom of the group at the moment) knowing they need to equal or better Young Boys’ result on the night. The Swiss side host Russians Anzhi Makhachkala with both games kicking off at the same time.
With star striker Luis Suarez suspended for the next league match (after picking up 5 bookings) he is almost certain to feature against the Italian outfit to try to help the Reds into the knockout phase of the competition.
Australian Brad Jones will be the stand-in goalkeeper if Pepe Reina doesn’t play, while the likes of Andre Wisdom, Nuri Sahin, Jonjo Shelvey and Oussama Assaidi will all be hoping for recalls from the manager having contributed to the campaign so far.
Udinese registered a 4-1 home win at the weekend against Cagliari. They should be confident going into the match having also defeated Liverpool (2-3) at Anfield earlier in the campaign.
Their top scorer in the tournament, Antonio Di Natale, did not get to add to his league tally against Cagliari but got an assist and was a danger throughout the match.
Liverpool: Jones, Wisdom, Coates, Carragher, Downing, Henderson, Shelvey, Sahin, Assaidi, Suarez, Suso.
If Liverpool defeat Udinese, they will go through as the second qualifiers along with Anzhi. If Young Boys win against the Russians, then all three teams will finish with 10 points and be in a mini-league of their own where classification will be on head to head results between the three. If that is the case, then Liverpool and Anzhi would still go through to the knockout-stages.
A draw for Liverpool will see them go through if Young Boys failed to win, otherwise the Swiss side will go through ahead of the Reds.
A win for Udinese and Anzhi would leave Liverpool, Udinese and Young Boys on seven points. Anzhi would win the group while in the mini-league, Young Boys would finish top of the group and qualify second behind the Russians.
Preview by Aswin Sankar (@SpectacularSG8)