Liverpool look to progress in Europa League
I get the feeling we won't be kicking ourselves about what happens in this match today, but about the two equalizers in the last one. Especially the second one, where the midfield was nowhere, Jamie Carragher was doing....something, and the rest of it.
Because normally, a draw in italy would be a pretty good result for a team in this much flux. Unless it's a real minnow, you always take a point away from home in Europe. But it's probably not going to be good enough today. Liverpool can't lose, as that would at best make a three-way tie with Udinese and Young Boys, and YB would go through in that scenario. Then they have to match or better YB's result against Anzhi at home, and the Russians are already through and most certainly sending a shadow squad to Switzerland.
So how seriously will Brendan Rodgers take this? I'm guessing pretty seriously. We know Gerrard, Agger, and Lucas are at home either resting or due to illness (Gerrard), but other than I think everyone is going to be in. Skrtel will probably pair with Carragher, though Carra didn't exactly look like a demonstration film for defending against Di Natale last time. Wisdom will probably return with Enrique still at left back, but it would surprise no one to see Johnson and Enrique continue their dominating form from the last few games.
In the middle is where it gets tricky. Allen is really the only thing resembling a holder, even though he's not really that, but also needs a breather. I think he starts today but not Sunday at Upton Park. We know Shelvey will be involved somewhere, either at the head of this or as part of the front troika. I think it's in midfield, with Henderson behind him as Sahin has fallen off the map. But Europa is where Sahin has gotten the most looks, so he could be included in his sort of preferred deeper but not deepest role.
With Suarez suspended at the weekend, he's a cert to start. The understanding he and Suso seem to have will see the young Spaniard in, and I wouldn't rule out both Shelvey and Suso swapping spots throughout the match. But maybe Suso is the impact sub as he's been before? Sterling isn't going to get three matches in a week, so Assaidi probably goes on the other side.
Udinese had been winless in six before hammering Calgiari in their last match. They're already out, but won't want to just roll over at home and this is still "LIVERPOOL FC" coming to town. That still means something to people. Their backline is beat up a bit, but Di Natale is still roaming around. Which means you can never feel safe.
This is your thread. Let's do it, Reds.