Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will select Luis Suarez for the trip to Udinese as his side look to secure a place in the last 32 of the Europa League. The Reds need a victory to guarantee progress, while a draw would be enough if Young Boys fail to defeat Anzhi Makhachkala at home. A defeat for Liverpool would see them exit, no matter what the result in Switzerland.
While some clubs have often treated the Europa League as an inconvenience rather than an opportunity, Rodgers has said that he is eager for his side to progress.
"We'd be bitterly disappointed if we went out,” he said, according to UEFA.com.
"It's important for us to be focused on getting the win,” he added. “I believe we will get the result which sees us qualify and keep up the momentum. Our job is to keep moving forwards, day by day, game by game; a win would give us another chance to do so."
Rodgers has rotated his squad throughout the competition so far and Daniel Agger and the recently returned Lucas Leiva will be rested for the trip to Italy. While Steven Gerrard will also remain at home, through, illness, Rodgers will call upon Suarez with the forward suspended for Sunday’s trip to West Ham.
The Uruguayan has started just once in the Europa League this season, but scored as a substitute in Liverpool’s 3-2 defeat to Udinese at Anfield back in October.
That has been Udinese’s only victory in the competition so far this season, though, and their hopes of qualification have already been ended. That is likely to mean that coach Francesco Guidolin rotates his side ahead of their encounter with Sampdoria on Sunday. Udinese, who have exited the Champions League qualifiers the past two seasons are enjoying a disappointing campaign and currently sit ninth in Serie A.
D: Coda, Danilo, Heurtaux
M: Faraoni, Pereyra, Lazzari, Badu, Armero
F: Fabbrini, Ranegie
D: Johnson, Skrtel, Carragher, Downing
M: Henderson, Allen, Sahin
F: Suso, Suarez, Enrique
Prediction: Against a Udinese side likely to be displaying several changes, Liverpool, with Suarez in their ranks should fancy their chances to get a victory. However, all too often this season the Reds have failed to convert good performances into victories and that may again prove the case here.
Udinese 1-1 Liverpool
Where to watch: The Europa League match kicks-off from the Stadio Friuli at 1 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by the Fox Soccer Channel, with a live stream available via Fox Soccer 2Go.