It’s Thursday night, which can only mean one thing – the return of the Europa League group stages.
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Young Boys 3-5 Liverpool
Udinese 1-1 Anzhi Makhachakala
Hapoel Tel-Aviv 0-3 Atletico Madrid
Viktoria Plzen 3-1 Academica
AEL 0-0 Borussia Monchengladbach
Fenerbahce 2-2 Marseille
Bordeaux 4-0 Club Brugge
Maritimo 0-0 Newcastle United
FC Copenhagen 2-1 Molde
Stuttgart 2-2 Steaua Bucharest
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 2-0 PSV Eindhoven
Napoli 4-0 AIK
AFTER CHELSEA, MANCHESTER United, Manchester City and Arsenal all got their Champions League group fixtures up and running over the past two nights, it’s the turn of Liverpool, Spurs and Newcastle in the Europa League.
At White Hart Lane, Andre Villas-Boas hosts Italian side Lazio, who have made a terrific start to their domestic league campaign. That game begins at the later time of 8.05pm and Paul will be liveblogging events directly after this.
Newcastle are without a number of players on their visit to Portugal where Maritimo are the opposition but our feature match will be Liverpool’s trip to Berne where Brendan Rodgers opens his European account against Young Boys (insert inappropriate joke/pun here).
The Reds have left several of their established players, including Pepe Reina, Luis Suarez, Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger Steven Gerrard at home, and with a huge game with Manchester United on Sunday, will put out a second string of youngsters tonight.
So, as expected, Liverpool go with an inexperienced team and put out a whole different starting XI to the one which began at Sunderland at the weekend. Teenagers Andre Wisdom and the highly-rated Spaniard Suso get the nod, as do new signings Nuri Sahin and Oussama Assaidi. Jamie Carragher will be expected to show leadership from the back while Dani Pacheco gets the nod up front.
Former Liverpool great Robbie Fowler in the studio having the pre-match chats with Gordon Strachan. He was at Croker for the All-Ireland SHC final two weeks ago… wonder will he be back for Mayo v Donegal on Sunday?
Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer’s Molde travel to Denmark to take on FC Copenhagen
Joey Barton starts for Marseille away to Fenerbahce
Big spending Russian side Anzhi Makhachakala host Udinese
Holders Atletico Madrid are in Israel to face Hapoel Tel-Aviv
We’re up and running. I’m looking forward to seeing how some of Liverpool’s youngster fare here.
GOAL! Young Boys 0-1 Liverpool (Juhani Ojala)
Absolutely disastrous start for the home side. A Stewart Downing cross comes in from the right and, under no pressure whatsoever, Christoph Spycher heads the ball off his own man and into the back of the net. Finnish defender Juhani Ojala is the unlucky man who will be credited with the goal.
Looking past the goal, which was a defensive howler from Young Boys, Liverpool have spread the ball about well during this opening period. They win a corner but Downing’s delivery isn’t great. Young Boys then break and Alexander Farnerud goes down under a nudge from Jamie Carragher. Never a penalty and referee Michail Koukoulakis of Greece waves play on.
A clumsy tackle from Mario Raimondi on Downing earns the Young Boys full-back the first yellow card of the match and rightly so.
Sebastian Coates rises highest for the latest Liverpool corner but cannot direct it anywhere near the goal. The Reds recycle the ball and keep possession before handing it back to their opponents. When they then intercept a pass at the halfway line, Downing runs at his man but allows the ball to get stuck underneath his feet.
The Swiss side break and Zarate cuts in onto his left but can’t get the sufficient bend on his strike, which curls wide of the mark.
Whistles ring out around the Stade de Suisse, who are looking for a penalty after Jose Enrique has a tug at Zarate. The foul is outside the box however, and Young Boys win a free in a promising area. Farnerud’s set-piece is awful and sails well over.
Spanish youngster Suso shows a glimpse of what he can do by ghosting by a couple of markers and driving into the opposing box. A couple of stepovers later, he cuts back but there’s no one there to capitalise.
GOAL! Young Boys 1-1 Liverpool (Raphael Nuzzolo)
Another pretty horrible defensice mix-up gifts Young Boys an equaliser. Goalkeeper Brad Jones and Jose Enrique get their wires crossed and the Spanish defender plays it out to Raphael Nuzzolo, who fires right down the middle.
GOAL! Young Boys 1-2 Liverpool (Andre Wisdom)
A night to remember for 19-year-old defender Andre Wisdom, who risest highest to head home powerfully from a corner. The visitors back in front.
Half-time: Young Boys 1-2 Liverpool
Jones has to push an excellent strike from Farnerud onto the post before the whistle goes to signal half-time.
Watch Andre Wisdom’s debut goal while we wait for the team to re-emerge for the second half:
Moroccan winger Oussama Assaidi, signed from Heerenveen in the summer, gets down the left flank, cuts inside and pop. It’s a decent effort and only just curls the wrong side of the top corner.
Liverpool break in numbers and Downing has options when he picks up the ball out wide. His crossed looks meant for the back post but Jordan Henderson meets it centrally to shoot off target.
GOAL! Young Boys 2-2 Liverpool (Juhani Ojala)
The man who was unfortunate enough to score the opening own-goal, cancels it out with a well-worked goal. Raul Bobadilla’s accurate cross is met by Ojala, who beats Jones with a header.
First substitute of the night: Fabio Borini is on for Dani Pacheco, who hasn’t had much joy as the lone Liverpool striker.
GOAL! Young Boys 3-2 Liverpool (Gonzalo Zarate)
Young Boys are ahead and yet again bad Liverpool defending is to blame. The Swiss side break and when Carragher fails at a couple of attempts to clear his lines at the halfway, Bobadilla feeds Zarate, who perfects a delicate chip.
GOAL! Young Boys 3-3 Liverpool (Sebastian Coates)
Amazingly, we’re all square for a third time. Uruguayan defender Coates is unmarked to head goalward, where Borini attempts to flick on. Whether he got a touch matters little as the ball crosses the line.
Zarate’s goal is the pick of the lot with 15 minutes remaining:
Incredible. Liverpool back in front through substitute Jonjo Shelvey, who latches onto Henderson’s first time pass after a cross from the left.
Raheem Sterling is on for Stewart Downing while Young Boys have withdrawn Elsad Zverotic for Michael Frey. Borini has also earned himself a yellow card in the last few moments.
Absolutely shocking dive from Bobadilla, who then comically pleads his innocence while a yellow card is flashed in his direction.
Great chance for new man Frey to make it 4-4 but his header is weak and straight into the hands of Jones.
GOAL! Young Boys 3-5 Liverpool (Jonjo Shelvey)
He may not be on long but the young English midfielder has grabbed his second and ensured Liverpool of the three points. Picking the ball up in a deep position, Shelvey goes by one man when a huge amount of space opens up in front of him. Take nothing away from the finish though – a clinical left-foot drive past Marco Wolfli.
Full-time: Young Boys 3-5 Liverpool
Plenty of suspect defending but an enjoyable game to watch. Rodgers won’t be happy with conceding three but there positives to take from the performances of several players including Henderson, Sahin, Wisdom, Assaidi and Shelvey.
That final Shelvey goal is worth checking out…
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