The Europa League is a welcome distraction for Liverpool FC following the disastrous showing at Old Trafford, and the Reds make the short trip to France to take on Bordeaux. The match represents a chance for the fringe players at Liverpool to stake their claim for the spot in the first team.
The competition is not as prestigious in either reputation or the money it generates for the participating clubs. Thereby, usually, the bigger clubs in the competition, like Liverpool, tend to not take it as seriously as they should.
However, it is important that the Merseysiders take the opportunity with both their hands and look to win the competition in order to ensure a place in the Champions League, given the competition for the top 4 is cut-throat in the Premier League.
Brendan Rodgers is a man under pressure, and the trip which is just under 1000km to the French town famous for wines, represents a chance for the manager to show what he can do.
Team News & Tactical Brief
Manager Willy Sagnol took charge of the French outfit in 2014 after a spell as France Under-21 coach. They have won both their European home games this season without conceding a goal. However, Bordeaux have had a rather poor start to the Ligue One having won just one of their opening five games and currently sit 12th in the table.
The French side will be hoping to carry their European form in to tomorrow night’s game and are expected to deploy their favoured 4-3-1-2 formation.
Bordeaux will be without a number of injured first team players including the likes of Sane, Sertic, Plasil, Diabate and Toure. They all missed out at the weekend against PSG through injury and expected to not be fit in time to start against the Reds.
Rolan, Crivelli are expected to lead the line with Khazri sitting just behind them. The midfield will consist of the trio of Chantmoe, Saivet, Maurice-Belay. The defence will be manned by Guilbert, Pablo, Pallois, and Poundje with Carrasso in goal.
Predicted Bordeaux XI (4-3-1-2): Carrasso, Guilbert, Pablo, Pallois, Poundje, Chantmoe, Saivet, Maurice-Belay, Khazri, Rolan, Crivelli
Liverpool are expected to use the Europa League tie against Bordeux to test the players who are yet to play much football this season. Alberto Moreno, Kolo Toure, Jordon Ibe and Jordan Rossiter are all in contention for a start. Mamadou Sakho is also expected to feature and the Frenchman is controversially, yet to make an appearance for the club this season.
Having come off the bench against Manchester United, Divock Origi is also expected to start for Liverpool up-front.
Philippe Coutinho, who missed Liverpoola s last game due to suspension is also expected to feature but Benteke, Lucas, Clyne, Firmino, Skrtel, Lovren have all been rested with one eye on the weekend’s home game against Norwich City.
Adam Lallana is back in training for the club, and is expected to feature at some point, if not from the start.
Predicted Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Bogdan, Gomez, Toure, Sakho, Moreno, Rossiter, Can, Coutinho, Ibe, Ings, Origi
Man to watch:
The Belgian has had somewhat roller-coaster 18 months. A wonderful World Cup for Belgium earned him a transfer to Liverpool FC, but he was kept on loan at Lille for the season. It did not turn out to be as expected, and Origi struggled for goals at the French outfit.
Origi got his first bow for Liverpool FC in the 3-1 defeat to Manchester United. He will be hoping to get going with his new club and will be against familiar opponents in Bordeaux for it.
Origia s ability to run at defence with pace should ensure he is a constant threat for the Bordeaux defence.
- Liverpool have not won any of their last five European away games (D1 L4), failing to score in all four defeats.
- Bordeaux made it through to the round of 32 in their first two UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns, but missed the cut in their most recent appearance, in 2013/14.
- Liverpool made it through to the knockout phase in both of their previous UEFA Europa League group stage campaigns a in 2010/11 and 2012/13.
- Bordeaux have won only one of their ten games against English clubs (W1 D2 L7 – W1 D2 L2 at home), Newcastle United FC beaten 2-0 in the most recent of those encounters, in December 2012.
- Liverpool’s record in 13 games in France is W5 D1 L7.
Bordeaux 1-3 Liverpool
The Reds are not in the best of the form and Brendan Rodgers is expected to make a host of changes to rest some players and test others. This should give Bordeaux the confidence to have a go at a shaky Redsa defence. However, ironically, a changed defence without Lovren and Skrtel might just be much better. The United defeat should shock Rodgers in reverting back to his original philosophy of playing attacking football. Coutinho coming back should spark the Reds back in life, and the pace of Jordon Ibe and Origi is also likely to help. Somehow, the thought of Coutinho, Origi, Ibe, Ings seems a lot better than Can, Ings, Benteke as the furthest forward players. If Liverpool are not fired up from the start for this game, something is seriously wrong with the motivational ability of the manager.