Udinese - Liverpool Preview: Reds need win in Italy to reach Europa League knockout stage
The hosts are eliminated from the Europa League but possess the lethal finishing of Antonio Di Natale at home and Brendan Rodgers faces a challenge to secure progression
By Arthur Virgo
Heurtaux, Danilo, Coda
Faraoni, Pereyra, Badu, Lazzari, Armero
Fabbrini, Di Natale
Wisdom, Skrtel, Coates, Downing
Henderson, Shelvey, Sahin
Suso, Suarez, Assaidi
Brendan Rodgers has rotated his squad ahead of his previous Europa League matches, with defenders Andre Wisdom, Jamie Carragher, left-sider Stewart Downing, midfielders Jordan Henderson and Jonjo Shelvey and winger Oussama Assaidi featuring in four or more of their five Group A games so far.
Luis Suarez may lead the line up front, having incurred a suspension for Sunday's Premier League trip to West Ham, with forward Fabio Borini (foot) and defender Martin Kelly (knee) still unavailable through injury.
Udinese are without right-back Dusan Basta (cheek fracture) and centre-backs Maurizio Domizzi and Mehdi Benatia have been out through injury. Willians is suspended, while fellow midfielders Andrea Lazzari and Giampiero Pinzi are recovering from injury but could make a comeback in this fixture.
Striker Luis Muriel (broken leg) is out, so Antonio Di Natale could be joined by Diego Fabbrini or Matias Ranegie.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Udinese have missed out on the knockout stage for the first time in their four Uefa Cup and Europa League group-stage campaigns, despite three goals from captain Antonio Di Natale (pictured right).
Di Natale is 6/4 with William Hill to score anytime in this match.
- The Zebrette are on an unprecedented three-game European losing streak in Group A, conceding eight in the process, having never lost more than two games in a row in Europe prior to their Matchday 5 defeat away to now-qualified Anzhi Makhachkala.
- Francesco Guidolin's side entered the Europa League having lost their second successive Champions League play-off but now lie ninth in Serie A, although they recorded an emphatic 4-1 win over Cagliari on Sunday.
- Liverpool are ahead of Young Boys in second place on head-to-head record and would qualify for the Europa League knockout stage with a win. A draw would also take them through, provided that the Swiss side do not win at home against qualified Anzhi and overtake the Reds on points.
- The Reds would be out with a defeat at the Stadio Friuli, even if Young Boys lose, as the Swiss side would then be top of a three-way head-to-head involving both Liverpool and Udinese.
- Udinese have won two of their four fixtures against English sides in European competition, losing both legs of the 2011-12 Champions League play-offs to Arsenal but beating Tottenham in the 2008-09 Uefa Cup group stage in addition to their win in October over Liverpool.
- The Reds have won eight of their 24 European games against Italian teams, drawing five and losing 11 - including four of their nine matches away against Italian teams.
- Liverpool have faced Italian teams in five finals of Uefa competition, losing three and winning twice on penalties for the European Cup against Roma in 1984 and against AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League.
- Udinese reserve goalkeeper Daniele Padelli played for Liverpool in 2007 on loan from Sampdoria, appearing alongside Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger and Steven Gerrard in the final match of the season against Charlton, his only game in their colours.
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Top 3 Predictions
Udinese 1-2 Liverpool
- 18.59 %
Udinese 0-2 Liverpool
- 17.3 %
Udinese 1-3 Liverpool
- 10.91 %
|UEFA Europa League (EL)||Dec 6, 2012||Udinese 0 - Liverpool 1|
|UEFA Europa League (EL)||Oct 4, 2012||Liverpool 2 - Udinese 3|
|Dec 7, 2013||Napoli 3 - Udinese 3||SR-A|
|Dec 1, 2013||Juventus 1 - Udinese 0||SR-A|
|Nov 24, 2013||Udinese 1 - Fiorentina 0||SR-A|
|Nov 9, 2013||Catania 1 - Udinese 0||SR-A|
|Nov 3, 2013||Udinese 0 - FC Internazionale 3||SR-A|
|10||Antonio Di Natale||Striker|