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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019
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Europa League preview: Liverpool and Spurs fight for survival

Five spots in the knock out stages remain up from grabs in the final round of Europa League group games.

Brendan Rogers trying to work out tonight's Europa League permutations.
Brendan Rogers trying to work out tonight's Europa League permutations.
Image: Stephen Pond/EMPICS Sport

LIVERPOOL AND TOTTENHAM are among the teams vying for a spot in the knockout rounds of the Europa League today.

Five spots in the next round need to be filled as we head into the last round of group fixtures and the English Premier League duo are both in contention to qualify.

Liverpool have collected seven points from five games in Group A, but who actually emerges from this group is still something of a head-scratcher.

Liverpool currently sit second, just ahead of Young Boys on their head-to-head record.

Brendan Rodgers’ side travel to Italy to play Udinese and will secure qualification with a win. A draw as well as a Young Boys draw or defeat to Anzhi Makhachkala would also send them through to the next round.

However, if Liverpool and Young Boys both lose, the Swiss outfit would actually progress because of their superior three-way head-to-head record against both Liverpool and Udinese.

If that isn’t complicated enough, group leaders Anzhi could slip to second with a loss and Liverpool win as a result of the Anfield outfit’s superior three-way head-to-head record.

The task is slightly less complicated for Tottenham who will battle it out with Panathinaikos for a spot in the next round.

Spurs are on seven points, two ahead of their Greek opponents and will go through with a draw or win.

They could also pip Group J leaders Lazio, who play Maribor, for top spot if the Italians fail to get a win.

Spurs drew 1-1 with Panathinaikos in October and will look to use home advantage tonight to get to the next stage of the competition.

Elsewhere, Genk are already through in Group G and only need a point at home to Basel to progress as group winners.

Basel will go through if they claim at least a draw against the Belgians, even if Videoton beat Sporting Lisbon. This is because of their superior head-to-head record against the Hungarian outfit.

However, Murat Yakin’s Basel could snatch top spot if they beat Genk because of their head-to-head record.

Group E also offers up some interesting scenarios on with Steau Bucharest, Stuttgart and FC Copenhagen all in the running to progress.

Steau top the group on 10 points and would qualify if they beat or draw against Copenhagen, who are three points adrift.

The Danes would move through if they win 1-0 or by any two-goal margin against Steau, while Stuttgart, who sit on eight points, would progress with victory at home to bottom side Molde.

Atletico Madrid and Viktoria Plzen have already booked a spot in the final stages but will face off for top honours in Group B.

Alan Pardew’s Newcastle United, who ended a four-game losing run in the Premier League against Wigan on Monday and have already qualified, can steal top spot in Group D if they beat leaders Bordeaux, while Hannover need a point away to Levante to clinch Group L ahead of the Spaniards.

The top two teams in groups C, F, H, I and K have already been decided.

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Steve O'Rourke

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