MX23RW : Friday, November 16 10:30:27

Preview: Bordeaux vs. Liverpool

Sports Mole looks ahead to the Europa League meeting between Bordeaux and Liverpool at the Matmut Atlantique.

Liverpool will hope to recover from their defeat against Manchester United by beating Bordeaux in their Europa League group stage opener on Thursday evening.

The Reds have come under pressure following their start to the season, but a strong run in Europe could help to relieve the pressure on Brendan Rodgers.


Bordeaux's French head coach Willy Sagnol looks on prior to the French L1 football match Guingamp vs Bordeaux on September 14, 2014© Getty Images

It has not been the best start to the season for Bordeaux, who have won just one of their opening five Ligue 1 matches and currently sit 12th in the table.

However, they did earn a 2-2 draw away to Paris Saint-Germain in their last outing, after coming from two goals down with 10 men against the French champions.

They will be hoping to finally make an impact in Europe this season, 20 years after losing the UEFA Cup final to Bayern Munich.

Les Girondins almost failed to make it to the group stage, as they were in real trouble during their playoff with Kairat. They had claimed a 1-0 victory in the first leg and would have expected to finish the job in Kazakhstan, but just past the hour mark in the return meeting they were 2-0 down and heading out of the tournament.

With an exit looming, Enzo Crivelli found the back of the net and they eventually suffered a 2-1 defeat, ensuring that Willy Sagnol's side snuck through on away goals.

Recent form: DWDLWD


Brendan Rodgers, manager of Liverpool looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park on November 23, 2014© Getty Images

Despite a promising start to the season for the Reds, with two wins from their opening Premier League matches, back-to-back defeats against West Ham United and Manchester United have cranked up the pressure on Rodgers.

They were thumped 3-0 by the Hammers at Anfield just before the international break, before slumping to a 3-1 defeat against their biggest rivals at the weekend.

Liverpool have been forced to deal with a number of injuries to their best players in the opening weeks of the campaign, with captain Jordan Henderson travelling to America this week for treatment on a heel problem.

They have also been hit with the absence of Daniel Sturridge, but the striker has returned to training and could make his long-awaited return to action in Bordeaux.

With the Reds hoping to rediscover their league form, they may see the Europa League as an unwanted distraction. However, it could offer them their best chance of getting into next season's Champions League, with the winners automatically earning a spot in the group stage.

Recent form: WWDLL

Team News

Liverpool's French defender Mamadou Sakho (R) battles with Chelsea's Brazilian midfielder Willian (L) during the English League Cup semi-final second leg football match on January 27, 2015© Getty Images

Rodgers is expected to make a number of changes to his side with a Premier League clash against Norwich City to come on Sunday afternoon.

Divock Origi is in line to make his first start for the club, while Jordan Rossiter could also be given the chance to impress in midfield with Henderson and Joe Allen still sidelined.

There could also be starts at the back for Mamadou Sakho, Kolo Toure and Alberto Moreno, while Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Sturridge are all available after their recent absences.

Bordeaux, meanwhile, have their own injury problems, with Lamine Sane, Gregory Sertic, Cheick Diabate, Jaroslav Plasil and Thomas Toure all ruled out.

However, Uruguay international Diego Rolan is back from injury and could make his first start of the season.

Bordeaux possible starting lineup:
Carrasso, Guilbert, Pablo, Pallois, Poundje, Chantmoe, Saivet, Maurice-Belay, Khazri, Rolan, Crivelli

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Mignolet, Clyne, Sakho, Toure, Moreno, Can, Milner, Rossiter, Ibe, Origi, Benteke

Head To Head

The two teams met in the group stage of the Champions League nine years ago, with Liverpool running out winners in both meetings.

A goal from Peter Crouch saw the Reds earn a 1-0 victory in France, before a double from Luis Garcia and a strike from Steven Gerrard saw Liverpool cruise to a 3-0 win at Anfield.

The Reds won the group and eventually reached the final of the tournament, where they suffered a 2-1 defeat against AC Milan in Athens.

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We say: Bordeaux 1-1 Liverpool

Both teams will be hoping to find some form after tough starts to the season. Liverpool have struggled in their past two matches, while Bordeaux have also endured a difficult time, despite their fightback against PSG. It could be a tight match with little to separate the sides, which is why we think it will end all square in France.

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Who will win the Europa League tie between Bordeaux and Liverpool?

Bordeaux's French head coach Willy Sagnol looks on prior to the French L1 football match Guingamp vs Bordeaux on September 14, 2014
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