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Liverpool vs Steaua Bucharest – Reds need good start to Group K

| 16.09.2010

Roy Hodgson will be hoping the distraction of a European competition will be the kick start that Liverpool need as they struggle to find their way in the League.

Steaua Bucharest will fancy their chances in an arena that has seen Champions League football come as standard in previous seasons, and at 12/1 to beat Liverpool, it seems a big price against a side still recovering from last season’s struggles.

With a Premier League tie against Manchester United on Sunday, it appears that Roy Hodgson is likely to rest Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres which would allow Torres a spell out of the firing line after Jamie Redknapp’s comments surrounding Sunday’s game with Birmingham.

Redknapp called Torres “diabolical” and despite declaring his loyalty to Liverpool towards the end of the summer, Torres’ league performances have been anything but zealous.

Raul Meireles will make his European debut and it will be up to he and Joe Cole to conjure any opportunities as Liverpool struggle when Gerrard and Torres aren’t in the team.

Liverpool’s win percentage when their two stars are out is in the low 40’s, with the two stars in the team is in the mid 60’s.

At home you’d expect Liverpool to beat their Romanian counterparts and they are available at 2/7 but a low scoring game is a certainty – Liverpool average just the one goal per game under Hodgson, whereas Bucharest haven’t scored in their last two away games.

Napoli vs Utrecht

Dutch side Utrecht are yet to beat an Italian team in four attempts and having lost all four games when they last made the competition in 2004/05 are unbackable even at 5/1.

Napoli are making their debut in the competition and are 2/5 to beat Utrecht, and they can heap the pressure on Liverpool and Steaua Bucharest in Group K.

The Romanians have never beaten an English side on the road. See the latest UEFA Europa League football betting markets here.



Ed Needham