Liverpool vs. Udinese  2 - 3

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Cole on Rodgers´ mind for Udinese

3 October 2012 20:53

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has hinted that Joe Cole could return for Thursday's Europa League tie against Udinese.

The former England international has not featured for the Reds since suffering a recurrence of a hamstring injury in the 3-0 defeat to West Brom on the opening day of the Premier League season.

"His attitude is superb and Joe really thinks he can contribute to the group, which is great," Rodgers told the club's official website.

"He's been unfortunate. He's been out and came back a couple of times, but didn't quite really get through fitness wise.

"He was out for eight weeks, trained for a couple of weeks, had his first game, scored a good goal and now he is fit. He's back into training now and looking to fight for a place in the squad.

"He loves his football, Joe, and he's now fit enough to fight for his position in the group."

Lucas Leiva and Martin Kelly remain the only long-term injury worries, while Spanish full-back Jose Enrique is close to a return to action.

"We're fine. We're pretty much the same as we were at the weekend. The boys that are bit longer-term like Lucas Leiva are still working well," said Rodgers at a pre-match press conference.

"There's nothing new from the weekend. Jose Enrique is back out on the pitches running. Apart from that, everyone is good and the condition of the team is good. We'll look forward to tomorrow night."

Though Rodgers fielded a young and inexperienced side in Liverpool’s 5-3 win over Young Boys, he is expected to start a number of more senior players, including Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez, against Udinese.

"I always look at each game and pick a group and team to win it," he continued.

"We need to ensure we have a group that is strong enough to win the game, but those players (Gerrard and Suarez) will be involved."

Article

Borini: Liverpool serious about Europa League

3 October 2012 20:44

Italian forward Fabio Borini says Liverpool are treating the Europa League as if it were the Champions League.

Liverpool will host Udinese on Thursday and Borini believes playing against teams on the cusp of Europe's premier club competition raises the standard of the matches.

"I think (the Europa League) is very important," he said.

"It can take us to a new performance level that is very high, because we play against other European teams like Udinese who should also play in the Champions League.

"For us it is our Champions League."

Liverpool made a slow start to the campaign under new manager Brendan Rodgers but bounced back with wins over West Bromwich Albion in the League Cup and Norwich City in the Premier League.

"In Liverpool the expectations are always high because it is a top club and it has to be this way," Borini said.

"I came here because I also have got big expectations. That is why I chose this club."

Borini, who joined Liverpool from Roma in July, said he felt comfortable amongst the new faces at Anfield.

"I think not just me, but lots of players are very young, and maybe in their first year in the Premier League or the Europa League," he said.

"It is very important because it gives the team some freshness and enthusiasm.

"It also helps me learn from Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and Jamie Carragher, because they are top players.

"They have played in every kind of game you could possibly play, and that is really helpful."

Article

Europa League preview: In-form Liverpool look for more

3 October 2012 08:10

Free-scoring Liverpool will look to continue their impressive run of form when they host Udinese in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday.

Brendan Rodgers' side have turned the corner lately, notching three wins from their past five fixtures.

Their only defeat in that period came at home to Manchester United, with a 10-man Liverpool unlucky to slump to a 2-1 loss against their rivals.

But with 13 goals in their past four matches, including a 5-2 thumping of Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday, the Reds have found form.

Key to the club's turnaround has been the form of young attackers Raheem Sterling and Suso, aged 17 and 19 respectively, while Real Madrid loanee Nuri Sahin has bagged three goals in his past two matches.

Off-season signing Joe Allen has also impressed while Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez is fresh off a hat-trick at Norwich.

The resurgence in form has been needed after Liverpool started slowly this season, with the Merseyside outfit still only 14th in the league but recent signs have been promising.

They won their first Europa League fixture 5-3 at Swiss side Young Boys and top the Group A standings.

Italian outfit Udinese will travel to Anfield on the back of a five-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

They have only won one of those fixtures - a 2-1 home triumph over Inter Milan - with a series of draws frustrating for Francesco Guidolin's side.

Udinese drew 0-0 with Genoa on Saturday and will look to score for the first time in three matches at Anfield in the Group A fixture.

Other marquee fixtures of matchday two see Inter Milan travel to Azerbaijan to face Neftci in Baku in Group H.

Inter sit third in the Serie A after four wins from their six fixtures, with Antonio Cassano (four goals) and Diego Milito (three goals) in form in the attacking third.

PSV thumped VVV Venlo 6-0 on Sunday, giving them a confidence boost ahead of a tricky home tie against Napoli in Group F.

Dries Mertens and Jurgen Locadia bagged hat-tricks in the easy win, with PSV having scored 24 goals in seven Eredivisie fixtures this season.

They sit third on the table, while Napoli are second in the Serie A thanks to superb form from Edinson Cavani (six goals).

Atletico Madrid are in hot form with their unbeaten streak stretching to 17 in all competitions after a 1-0 win over Espanyol on Sunday.

Atletico have also won their last 14 fixtures in European competition and are likely to extend that against Viktoria Plzen of the Czech Republic in Group B.

Bundesliga wins over Augsburg and Greuther Fuerth have eased the pressure on Bayer Leverkusen manager Sami Hyypia, who takes his side to Norway to meet Rosenborg in Group K.

Newcastle United host Bordeaux in Group D, Tottenham travel to Greece to face Panathinaikos in Group J and Marseille welcome the visit of AEL in Group C.

Other Europa League fixtures:
Group A: Anzhi Makhachkala v Young Boys
Group B: Academica v Hapoel Tel Aviv
Group C: Borussia Moenchengladbach v Fenerbahce
Group D: Club Brugge v Maritimo
Group E: Molde v Stuttgart & Steaua Bucharest v FC Copenhagen
Group F: AIK v Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
Group G: Basel v Genk & Videoton v Sporting Lisbon
Group H: Rubin Kazan v Partizan Belgrade
Group I: Sparta Prague v Athletic Bilbao & Ironi Kiryat Shmona v Lyon
Group J: Lazio v Maribor
Group K: Metalist v Rapid Vienna
Group L: Hannover v Levante & Helsingborg v FC Twente

Article

Rodgers: Referees tough on Liverpool

1 October 2012 18:30

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers remains concerned about key decisions he feels have gone against his side this season.

Star forward Luis Suarez was controversially denied a penalty in Saturday's 5-2 win at Norwich, prompting Rodgers to express his frustrations.

"It was a stonewall penalty," he said.

"I feel for the guy - I have to be honest - I think everyone in the ground knew it was a penalty.

"If you look at Antonio Valencia last week, he got a penalty against us for barely any contact."

Rodgers said he feels Suarez is unfairly targeted by referees for diving.

"If Luis is a player that goes down, he would have gone down in the second half," Rodgers said.

"It was a great piece of skill and the defender caught him but he stayed on his feet."

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero recently claimed that local players receive preferential treatment ahead of foreigners, but Rodgers was not so damning.

"There is nothing that we can do - I know how difficult a referee's job is," Rodgers said.

"You never hear me killing referees and officials. I want my players to respect them and I look to respect them myself.

"Hopefully one day we'll get the decision but until that point we will continue to concentrate on our performance."

Liverpool host Udinese in the Europa League on Thursday before facing Stoke City in the Premier League on Sunday.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
7 19 +0 31
8 18 +4 28
9 18 -2 25
10 19 -2 25
11 18 -7 23

Serie A table

# Team MP D P
7 16 +7 25
8 16 +8 24
9 16 -2 22
10 16 -4 22
11 16 +2 21