Liverpool travel to Italy to face Udinese, knowing that anything less than a win is likely to see them knocked-out of the Europa League in the group stages. The Reds are second in Group A for now but with Swiss side BSC Young Boys level on points (seven each), there is still a lot to be decided in the group. Group leaders Anzhi Makhachkala will travel to Young Boys in the other fixture.
The reverse fixture between these sides, at Anfield, ended in a dramatic 2-3 defeat for Brendan Rodgers' side, a 72nd minute strike from Giovanni Pasquale settled matters.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 6 pm GMT. Liverpool TV will have a build-up to the game from 5 pm GMT onwards. Follow all the action live, via text updates, on Gamecast by Soccernet.
Udinese have already been eliminated from the Europa League and all European competition for the season but with stars like Antonio Di Natale and a vociferous crowd support, they will be a handful for Liverpool. And the Italians come into this game on the back of a strong 4-1 weekend home win over Cagliari in the league.
The win, which keeps Francesco Guidolin's side ninth in the league, with 19 points from 15 games, was a well-timed boost for the club. Prior to the weekend's game, Udinese were winless in seven games in all competitions; the last game they won was away in the league, against AS Roma, in October. And that run of seven games included a defeat to Anzhi, in Russia, which ended their hopes of remaining in the Europa League.
Meanwhile, Liverpool continue to post inconsistent results, following a disappointing late-November defeat to Tottenham, at White Hart Lane, with a well-deserved 1-0 win at Anfield against the Saints. The Reds were in excellent tough against Southampton and created a number of goal scoring chances which, in what is rapidly becoming a Liverpool trait, they spurned. If they can retain that incisiveness in passing and movement, particularly in the attacking third, and find their goal scoring boots, Udinese will have a difficult evening, home side or not.
- Last five (all competitions, most recent first): W L L D D
- Last Result: Udinese 4 - 1 Cagliari
- Last five (all competitions, most recent first): W L D D W
- Last Result: Liverpool 1 - 0 Southampton
The Italians are without right back Dusan Basta (fracture) and central defenders Maurizio Domizzi and Mehdi Benatia and Willians is serving a suspension. The good news is midfielders Andrea Lazzari and Giampiero Pinzi are recovering from their injuries well and could be fit to play. However, given there is no pressure on the hosts, expect Guidolin to not risk his stars.
Probable Line-Up: Brkic; Heurtaux, Danilo, Coda; Faraoni, Pereyra, Badu, Lazzari, Armero; Fabbrini, Di Natale
Brendan Rodgers normally rotates his squad for the European fixtures, often giving youngsters some experience and resting stars like Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez for the Premier League. However, given the importance of this game, expect the Northern Irishman to field at least one or two big names.
The former Swansea City manager will also have an eye on December fixtures in the Premier League, with games against West Ham, Fulham, Aston Villa and Stoke to be played. The Hammers and the Potters are both above Liverpool in the league and will be away games, while those against the Villans and Fulham will be at Anfield.
Uruguay international Suarez will be suspended for the trip to West Ham, meaning he will certainly start in Italy. The forward missed a number of easy chances to extend his side's winning margin against Southampton in the last game and will be keen to make up for those and ensure qualification to the knock-out stages.
Expect youngsters like Andre Wisdom and squad players like Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson to feature in this game, with Spanish youngster Suso and Moroccan Oussama Assaidi also likely to start.
Probable Line-Up: Jones; Wisdom, Skrtel, Coates, Downing; Henderson, Shelvey, Sahin; Suso, Suarez, Assaidi