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

Liverpool are in Romania as they aim to earn the point against Steaua Bucharest that will confirm progress from Europa League Group K.

The Reds can qualify if they avoid defeat in Bucharest on Thursday evening and Roy Hodgson’s team will be confident after a 4-1 win over the same opponents at Anfield on Matchday One.

But Steaua also have their eyes on the next stage and Marius Lacatus, who is in his third stint as coach, could see his team through with a victory if FC Utrecht and Napoli cannot be separated in the night’s other group match.

Hodgson has maintained a principle of using the options in his squad during European football and the likes of Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt, Raul Meireles, Glen Johnson and Paul Konchesky have not travelled.

But it remains to be seen if the gamble pays off, especially with inspirational captain Steven Gerrard and vice-skipper Jamie Carragher absent through injury.

Joe Cole, who has been suffering from a lack of confidence, according to Hodgson, looks set to return from five weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury to give Liverpool a boost.

Jose Reina is again expected to keep his place in goal, while promising defender Martin Kelly should replace Johnson at right-back and Fabio Aurelio is likely to fill in for Konchesky on the left.

Sotirios Kyrgiakos is expected to feature at centre-back and he could be partnered by recently-capped Scotland international Danny Wilson, who has been a fringe player since his summer arrival from Rangers.

Milan Jovanovic, Christian Poulsen, Lucas Leiva and Jonjo Shelvey could play in midfield, with Cole in an advanced position and Ryan Babel in a lone attacking role.

Steaua have not lost in three Group K games since their defeat at Anfield and will prove difficult opponents as they strive to maintain a four-match unbeaten run at home in Uefa club competition.

Lacatus, though, will know that Liverpool will pose a significant test for his players, with the Premier League side undefeated in nine European matches since last season’s Europa League semi-final loss to Atletico Madrid.

Atletico went on to win the competition, defeating Hodgson’s Fulham in the final to ensure that the 63-year-old sampled defeat at the last hurdle for the second time having also suffered heartbreak with former club Inter Milan in 1996/97.

Steaua’s men to watch are young playmaker Cristian Tanase, striker Bogdan Stancu, who has scored 15 goals in 23 games so far this season, and veteran Portuguese defender Geraldo Alves.

Related Posts

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.