Liverpool travel to Turkey to take on Besiktas in the second leg of round of 32 Europa League tie looking to qualify without too much of difficulties. Liverpool carry their first leg’s 1-0 lead from Anfield.
Liverpool will remember that it wasn’t an easy task as the reds had to wait for Balotelli’s late penalty to hand the reds a slender 1-0 advantage. The return leg will pose severe defensive test for Liverpool as the Turkish side will need to score and will come hard at the Anfield side.
Besiktas will have to score to keep any hopes of their progression in the next round but goals have been hard to come by for the Turkish Champions. Besiktas have suffered back to back defeats and are no longer at the top of Turkish Super Lig table.
Liverpool will have one eye on their next blockbuster encounter against Manchester City on Sunday. This can be seen from the squad they are traveling with to the Ataturk Stadium. Philippe Coutinho, Jordan Hendeson have not travelled with the sqauad.
Brad Jones, Jon Flanagan, Jose Enrique, Lucas Leiva and Steven Gerrard will miss this game due to injuries. Mamadou Sakho picked up a late training injury and is left back home while Lasar Markovic will begin serving his 4 match ban for his alleged slap at a Besiktas player.
Probable Liverpool Line-up against Besiktas: Mignolet, Toure, Skrtel, Lovren, Moreno, Allen, Can, Ibe, Sterling, Lallana, Balotelli
Besikats have only and perhaps the most important injury concern in their leading goal scorer Demba Ba. The Senegalese missed Besiktas’ 1-0 defeat to Eskisehrispor on Sunday due to a calf injury. Ba will have a late fitness test to prove his selection for this all important game.
Another key man for Besiktas will be Gokhan Tore. The former Chelsea alumni has already scored 3 Europa League goals this season and would look to put one pass Liverpool on tonight.
Probable Besiktas Line-up against Liverpool: Cenk, Serdar, Ersan, Franco, Motta, Olcay, Veli, Hutchinson, Gokhan, Sosa, Ba
- Besiktas won the last time the two sides met in Turkey. Besiktas were 2-1 winners back in October 2007.
- The two sides have met 3 times in the past, Besiktas have conceded 10 goals in those 3 matches.
- Liverpool have never failed to score in a game against Besiktas.
- Liverpool have only lost once in their last 18 games, winning 12 of those in the process.
- Liverpool’s win in the first leg last Thursday, was their first win in six European games.
- Besiktas are unbeaten in three home matches against English sides (W2 D1)
- The Reds have won only once in five away games against Turkish sides.
- The Turks are unbeaten in six European home games (W4 D2);
- Rodgers’ side are without a win in four away games from home (D1 L3).
- Besiktas’ Demba Ba has scored 18 goals in all competitions this season.
Liverpool’s failed to put away the Turkish side at Anfield which would mean an even tougher task for the reds. The sheer need for goals would push Besiktas to attack Liverpool’s defence and I can see Demba Ba play some part in the game and get on the score sheet.
Liverpool will be without the creative force of Philippe Coutinho but with Raheem Sterling and Mario Balotelli in the side, I see the reds get their all-important away goal and seal the game. I am going for a 1-1 draw on the night and Liverpool’s qualification to the round of 16.
Stats Credits: Opta