Home » Europa League, Europe, Latest » Europa League Match Preview: Liverpool vs FC Utrecht

The fate of both teams in the Europa League is sealed, as Liverpool will finish as group winners and go through to the next stage of the competition. But manager Roy Hodgson has worries about his side’s form, and for the first time the pressure from inside the club is beginning to show.

The Reds’ principal owner John W Henry recently branded this season’s results as “unacceptable” for a club that almost won the Premier League two years ago. And this will likely put pressure on the former Fulham boss, as he has to turn things around quickly.

And with a section of the club’s fans calling for Hodgson’s head by chanting for the resurrection of former player and manager Kenny Dalglish, the manager will likely want to prove a point by going through to the knockout phase of Europe’s second-tier competition with an unbeaten record.

Despite their mid-table position in the league, the Merseyside club have been strong at home this season. And this should stand them in good stead for this game, since Hodgson will likely continue with his mantra of giving some youngsters and a few fringe players a run out.

Utrecht are at the bottom of Group K and only have the opportunity to finish third. But their position is not necessarily a true reflection of their strength, since they have four draws to their name.

It is the inability to take three points that has come to haunt the Dutch club, and coach Ton du Chatinier would undoubtedly wish for a win so that his players’ confidence receives a boost.

This would be necessary in the grand scheme of their campaign, since the visitors have fallen well off the pace in the Eredivisie. One win in their last five outings in all competitions barely makes for a positive reading for a team that is competing on the European stage, and a turn in the tide would give the team the opportunity to regain the momentum necessary to directly qualify for next season’s edition of this tournament.

The last time the Dutch side met Liverpool was their first game against English opposition, and it ended in a goalless stalemate in Netherlands.

Team News

Fernando Torres is set to start for Liverpool despite the club having already secured a place in the knockout stages.

Steven Gerrard (hamstring) is still recovering from the injury sustained whilst on international duty, while Jamie Carragher (shoulder) is not expected to return for another two-and-a-half months.

Jay Spearing (ankle) and Daniel Agger (calf) are also sidelined, while David Ngog (head) is a doubt as he required stitches above his eye at the weekend against Newcastle and his fitness is yet to be assessed.

Possible starting XI: Reina; Kelly, Kyrgiakos, Wilson, Aurelio; Kuyt, Shelvey, Poulsen, Jovanovic; Cole; Torres.

The Dutch side are struggling for form, and manager Ton du Chatinier could choose to field a strong squad to gain a victory and boost the confidence of his side, particularly as the hosts are through and are likely to field a few fringe players.

Possible starting XI: Vorm; Cornelisse, Schut, Wuytens, Nesu; Duplan, Lensky, Silberbauer, Mertens; Van Wolfswinkel; Demouge.

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