Thursday 08 November 2012
Group leaders Liverpool and Newcastle United face tricky ties in Russia and Belgium respectively, while Tottenham Hotspur are seeking their first European home win of the campaign against Maribor as the UEFA Europa League resumes on Thursday.
Liverpool top Group A after beating Anji Makhachkala at Anfield a fortnight ago but the Reds are in for a testing trip to Moscow against a side who have won their last four European home games without conceding.
"We've got some outstanding players, some young players and some players with great experience"
Manager Brendan Rodgers is set to rotate his squad again with Steven Gerrard, Luis Suárez, Joe Allen, Nuri Sahin, Daniel Agger, José Reina, Glen Johnson, Raheem Sterling and José Enrique left at home with Sunday's Barclays Premier League encounter at Chelsea in mind.
Having placed his faith in youngsters Stephen Sama, Adam Morgan, Conor Coady and Dani Pacheco, who have been instrumental in Liverpool Under-21s' unbeaten start to the season, Rodgers is confident the camaraderie within the squad can win the day.
"We're very much one team and one spirit," Rodgers told Liverpool's website. "We have left a number of players behind, but that won't disrupt our spirit. We have great character within our group and hopefully that's something we'll see again.
"We've got enough talent in the group that travelled here. We've got some outstanding players, some young players and some players with great experience."
Liverpool (from): Jones; Wisdom, Carragher, Coates, Robinson, Shelvey, Henderson, Cole, Downing, Yesil, Assaidi, Gulacsi, Ward, Flanagan, Sama, Wilson, Coady, Suso, Morgan.
Newcastle are also flying high in Group D after beating Brugge a fortnight ago thanks to Gabriel Obertan's winner but the Magpies are just a point ahead of this evening’s opponents and Bordeaux in what is a very tight group.
"When we take anything over 600 they start sounding like the whole stadium"
In the squad is Spanish striker Xisco, who scored a hat-trick for the Under-21s against Stoke City, while more experienced regulars Fabricio Coloccini and Cheik Tiote are both likely to feature as they are suspended for Sunday's Barclays Premier League visit of West Ham United.
Alan Pardew also believes that the travelling Toon Army will prove be a twelfth man for his side. "We know what our fans are like and when we take anything over 600 they start sounding like the whole stadium," the Newcastle manager told the club's official website.
"It's brilliant that they have followed us, we are absolutely delighted. We have got fantastic supporters."
France midfielder Yohan Cabaye has also travelled but James Perch is facing up to a month on the sidelines with a thigh injury and, like Steve Harper, Danny Simpson, Jonás Gutiérrez, Hatem Ben Arfa and Demba Ba, has been left at home.
Newcastle (from): Krul, Elliot; Santon, Ferguson, Tavernier, Coloccini, S Taylor, Williamson, Tioté, Bigirimana, Cabaye, Anita, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Marveaux, Amalfitano, Abeid, Cissé, Shola Ameobi, Xisco.
Andre Villas-Boas may have won this competition with Porto in 2011 but his Tottenham Hotspur side have yet to win in Group J with three draws from as many fixtures.
"If we're struggling a little, if we can't create or score early, then we need the supporters – they've been fantastic"
A win against second-placed Maribor, who are a point better off and who held them to a 1-1 draw in Slovenia, however, could take the Londoners top of the group. To that end the head coach is expected to deploy a strong line-up which, according to assistant coach Steffen Freund, need to hit the ground running at White Hart Lane.
"First of all, it's up to us to start well, to put them under pressure, to keep possession high up the pitch and create chances," Freund told the club's website. "Then, the goal will come.
"If we're struggling a little, if we can't create or score early, then we need the supporters. They have been fantastic."
Although Mousa Dembele remains out with a hip problem and Sandro and Scott Parker are also sidelined with injuries, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, striker Emmanuel Adebayor and Clint Dempsey are all in contention to start.
Tottenham (from): Lloris, Cudicini; Naughton, Walker, Caulker, Gallas, Dawson, Vertonghen; Livermore, Parrett, Huddlestone, Sigurdsson, Lennon, Bale, Mason, Carroll, Townsend, Falqué, Dempsey, Defoe.
Anji Makhachkala v Liverpool, 5pm
Udinese v BSC Young Boys, 6pm
Club Brugge v Newcastle United, 6pm
Bordeaux v Maritimo, 6pm
Lazio v Panathinaikos, 8.05pm
Tottenham Hotspur v Maribor, 8.05pm