Liverpool host Swiss side BSC Young Boys at Anfield, with all four teams in Group A of the 2012 Europa League in contention to progress to the knock-out rounds. The Reds are second in the group with six points from four games and lead their visitors by goal difference. Russian giants Anzhi Makhachkala are in front with seven points and Serie A club lurk in fourth, with four points from as many games. The return fixture, in September, ended in a 3-5 home defeat for Young Boys, with Reds' youngster Jonjo Shelvey scoring a second-half brace.
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Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will look to build from the weekend's 3-1 home win against Wigan Athletic, in a Premier League game. The former Swansea City manager, appointed to Anfield this summer, has had an inconsistent and, on the whole, disappointing tenure so far. Prior to the Wigan game, Liverpool were winless in five and that included a 1-3 loss to the Swans, at home. The good news, if it is such, is that of the last five (including Wigan), Liverpool have only lost two - to Swansea and away to Anzhi; a 1-0 defeat in their last Europa League game.
The Reds are 11th in the league, with only 15 points from 12 games. And, as proud a club as they may be, based on their present points haul, Anfield fans can bid goodbye to European competition, never mind Champions League football, for the near future.
Meanwhile, Young Boys, the poor start to the competition aside, have played rather well this season. The well-deserved double over group contenders Udinese was both a huge morale boost and could prove to be a vital set of results in the race to finish in the top two spots. The club are fifth in the Swiss Super League, with 18 points from 16 games, and will want to prolong their present participation in European competition for as long as possible, since the gap to fourth (and the final European competition place) is a massive 12 points.
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): W D L D L
- Last Match: Liverpool 3 - 0 Wigan Athletic
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): D W L W L
- Last Match: Young Boys 0 - 0 St Gallen
Rodgers needs to plan for the absences of Martin Kelly, Fabio Borini and Lucas Leiva, all of whom are still some time away from being available to the first team. The Northern Irishman has tended to rotate his squad for Europa League games but will likely field a strong side for this match (maybe a similar one to the weekend's clash against Wigan). He is expected to rest youngsters Raheem Sterling and Suso though, to protect them from a burn-out. Expect Stewart Downing and summer signing Oussama Assaidi to replace the Englishman and the Spaniard.
The key, once again, will be Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez. The South American has been in sensational goal scoring form this season, underlining his importance to the club with 10 goals in 12 league games and 13 in 17 appearances in all competitions.
Probable Line-Up: Reina; Wisdom, Skrtel, Agger, Johnson; Allen, Gerrard; Shelvey, Assaidi, Suarez, Downing
Meanwhile, the Young Boys' manager, Martin Rueda, has to worry about quite a few injury problems. Josh Simpson, Joseph Martinez and Ivan Benito were already out, with long-term problems, before this game. Left back Christoph Spycher will face a late fitness test but is expected to start for the Swiss.
Probable Line-Up: Wolfi; Sutter, Nef, Ojala, Spycher; Nuzzola, Costanzo, Schneuwly, Raimondi; Farnerud; Bobadilla