Eliminated Utrecht should hand Liverpool some Europe confidence
Liverpool will be keen to gain some momentum ahead of the knockout stages of the Europa League in their final Group K encounter in order to boost their chances of winning the competition outright.
Workmanlike would be the right term to describe Liverpool’s European adventure so far, as despite being second favourites to lift the Europa League at 8/1, they have failed to set the world alight and flattered to deceive at times.
To be fair to boss Roy Hodgson, he has used the competition to provide some experience to a number of young prospects and it is widely expected that some of his bigger guns will gradually begin to return as they get deeper into the competition.
Hodgson also has good experience in the competition as he led Fulham to the final last season.
Liverpool picked up a decent draw in Romania against Steaua Bucharest to seal their qualification from Group K and they are still to be beaten in this season’s tournament.
Both games at Anfield in the group have been won, while draws have been secured in all three away fixtures.
Their last group outing sees them host FC Utrecht and the visitors may send a weakened team to England on the basis that they are definitely out.
Therefore, it could be a good opportunity to get some confidence for the last-32 stage of the Europa League, where Liverpool will be one of 16 seeded teams based on the fact that they have topped their group.
This will mean that Liverpool will face one of the 12 Europa League teams who reach the knockout stages having finished second in the group or one of four non-seeded teams to enter the competition after finishing third in their Champions League group.
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