Udinese vs. Liverpool: Europa League Preview, Team News and Projected Lineups

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2012

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04:  Luis Suarez of Liverpool competes with Maurizio Domizzi of Udinese Calcio during the UEFA Europa League Group A match between Liverpool and Udinese at Anfield on October 4, 2012 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Udinese vs. Liverpool

Europa League Group A

Kick off Thursday 6th December 2012, 18:00 (UK) / 13:00 (ET)


The final round of Europa League group stage matches are upon us, and Group A is set to be determined with Liverpool still in with a chance of making it through to the knockout stages.

Brendan Rodgers and his Reds had hoped to have already qualified by the time this match rolled around, but a late equaliser for BSC Young Boys in the previous round at Anfield means the group goes right down to the final matches.

Liverpool travel to Italy to face Udinese, bottom of the group at the moment, knowing they need to equal or better Young Boys' result on the night. The Swiss side host Russians Anzhi Makhachkala with both games kicking off simultaneously.


Team news

With star striker Luis Suarez suspended for the next domestic match he is almost certain to feature against Udinese to try to help the Reds into the Europa League knockout phase.

It is not yet clear just how many senior players the manager will commit to this game and trying to remain in Europe with a tough Premier League fixture against West Ham United to follow just three days after this game.

Glen Johnson, Daniel Agger, Pepe Reina, Steven Gerrard and Joe Allen may all not travel.

Brad Jones will be the stand-in goalkeeper if Reina doesn't play, while the likes of Andre Wisdom, Jonjo Shelvey, Nuri Sahin and Oussama Assaidi will all be hoping for recalls having contributed to the European campaign so far.

For their part, Udinese romped to a 4-1 home win at the weekend against Cagliari and should be confident going into the match having also defeated Liverpool at Anfield earlier in the Europa League campaign.

Their top scorer in the Europa League, Antonio Di Natale, did not get to add to his league tally against Cagliari but claimed an assist and was a danger throughout.


Possible lineups:

Udinese: Zeljko Brkic, Gabriele Angella, Danilo, Thomas Heurtaux, Allan, Marco Davide Faraoni, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, Pablo Armero, Roberto Pereyra, Antonio Di Natale, Diego Fabbrini.

Liverpool: Brad Jones, Andre Wisdom, Martin Skrtel, Jamie Carragher, Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson, Jonjo Shelvey, Suso, Oussama Assaidi, Luis Suarez, Joe Cole.


Group permutations:

If Liverpool win, they will go through as the second qualifiers along with Anzhi Makhachkala. If Young Boys win against Anzhi, then all three teams will finish level on 10 points and be in a mini-league of their own where classification will be on head to head results between the three. In that case, Liverpool and Anzhi would still go through.

A draw for Liverpool will see them go through if Young Boys lose or draw, otherwise the Swiss team are through ahead of the Reds.

A defeat for the Premier League team will see them exit the competition if Young Boys get a draw or better.

Udinese and Anzhi wins leave Liverpool, Udinese and Young Boys on seven points. Anzhi would win the group. In the mini-league, Young Boys would finish top and qualify second behind Anzhi.


Quirky fact:

Udinese's second-choice goalkeeper, Daniele Padelli, played one game for Liverpool while on loan in 2006/07. He played in goal in the final match of the season against Charlton Athletic, which was also Robbie Fowler's farewell match. He conceded twice in a 2-2 draw.