Europa Preview

Liverpool’s UEFA Europa League campaign begins on Thursday, with the Reds already having arrived in France to play against Bordeaux at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux. Manager Brendan Rodgers has opted to exclude six players from the tour, indicating a significant change in the squad compared to the one that played against Manchester United. The likes of Christian Benteke, James Milner, Nathaniel Clyne, Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren and Lucas Leiva have been rested, while team captain Jordan Henderson will also not be featuring due to injury.

Massive changes in the squad and formation
Rodgers’ attempt to rotate the team for the tournament could indeed be considered a commendable decision. Since the fixture is the first match in the tournament for the team, giving the youngsters and the new signings the chance to get some first team action could indeed be a blessing in disguise. The game could also prove to be a great opportunity to test the Liverpool squad’s depth as well as the actual quality of Liverpool’s recent signings. Liverpool may start with two strikers in the game with Divock Origi and Danny Ings playing in the front two. Meanwhile, the midfield may involve the likes of Lallana, Coutinho, Rossiter, Firmino and Can. Sakho, Toure, Moreno and Gomez could take the defensive positions. This could perhaps even be the game in which recently signed keeper Adam Bogdan could make his debut.

Will Bogdan make a debut today?

Will Bogdan make a debut today?

A draw or a win on the cards

Despite the gamble by Rodgers to start with an irregular squad, it’s indeed a risk worth taking, considering the fact that three victories out of the six group matches could potentially mean that the Reds could indeed advance to the next round. Bordeaux could indeed be considered Liverpool’s biggest competitors in the group stages, taking into account the fact that Russian club Rubin Kazan and Swiss club FC Sion aren’t in a good run in their respective domestic leagues. Thus, perhaps it wouldn’t hurt the Reds much if the first three games were gambled with a younger squad.

Premier League prioritized
Liverpool will be back in action within 68 hours after today’s game, with the Reds scheduled to play against Norwich City at Anfield. Thus, Rodgers’ decision to exclude several top squad players could be a strategy formulated considering the next game in the Premier League. Liverpool are currently at 10th position because of which a victory in the league can be considered a bigger priority. Liverpool will also start their League Cup campaign next Wednesday against Carlisle.


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