Liverpool face Besiktas in the 2nd leg of the last 32 tie in the Europa league and will take a slender lead to Turkey which might not be enough.
Besiktas haven’t been in good form in the Turkish league and were beaten by 14th placed Eskisehirspor away from home on Sunday. Liverpool, on the other hand, have been brilliant since mid-December and will fancy their chances at Istanbul where they won their fifth European cup in 2005.
Lineups and Tactics
The Turkish club have received a boost after Demba Ba and Gokhan Tore will be eligible to take part in the clash after passing their fitness tests recently. Ba will be a key figure for Besiktas as he is the club’s leading scorer with 22 goals in 29 appearances in all competitions. He is expected to lead the line for his side with Jose Sosa playing behind him. Olcay Sahan could start ahead of Kerim Frei in the left wing position and Gokhan Tore is expected to start on the right side.
Sosa has been a key cog in Slaven Bilic’s team this season as all the creativity has come from the Argentinian. He has been excellent in the league after scoring thrice and assisting five goals, but has been disappointing in the Europa league despite his side finishing top of the group table. He’ll want to make up for that and breach Liverpool’s defense which has been excellent off late.
Oguzhan zyakup and Veli Kavlak are expected to start in front of the defense in a double pivot. zyakup is more attack minded player and will be expected to make those late runs into the Liverpool box. Kavlak is more of a defense minded player and will provide the shield to the back four.
In defense, Daniel Opare and Serdar Kurtulus will be expected to occupy the full back positions with Pedro Franco and Necip Uysal in defense. Ersan GA?lA?m and Ramon Motta have picked up two yellow cards in the last two games and will miss out.
Liverpool will travel to Turkey with a weakened team as Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho will miss the clash after Brendan Rodgers confirmed that the duo will not be traveling with the squad. Mamadou Sakho and Steven Gerrard haven’t recovered either. That could mean that Kolo Toure could partner Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel in defense with Joe Allen and Emre Can playing in midfield.
Rodgers has gone with a 3-4-2-1 formation since December and could do the same again. However, with Manchester City up next, Rodgers will have to choose his team carefully. Daniel Sturridge could be on the bench for Besiktas with Mario Balotelli playing up front alongside Rickie Lambert. Behind them, Adam Lallana is expected to start.
Alberto Moreno could be rested for the game against City and we could see Jose Enrique and Jordon Ibe playing in the wing back roles.
Besiktas will attack from the word go, so Liverpool could have chances to score on the counter. Ibe will be the Merseysider’s best outlet as the 19-year old has pace to burn and has been in good form since returning from a loan spell. Liverpool will have to defend well as the risk of playing extra time if they concede once is something that Rodgers will want to avoid with a crucial tie coming up on Sunday.
Probable XI: Mignolet; Toure, Skrtel, Lovren; Allen, Can, Enrique, Ibe, lallana; Lambert, Balotelli
- Besiktas have a good record at home against English opposition as they were unbeaten against Arsenal and beat Spurs at home this season.
- Liverpool’s last visit to Besiktas ended in a 2-1 defeat.
- The Reds haven’t beaten a Turkish side away from home.
Both the teams have key clashes coming up and will probably concentrate on those rather than the game tonight. Besiktas are the favorites though as the home support they have is incredible, and with Liverpool missing key players, we could see the Turkish side go through.
Fulltime: Besiktas 2-0 Liverpool
Blast from the past