By Christopher Boulay
Midfielder Jonjo Shelvey is available for selection for Liverpool, despite one match left on his domestic ban, as the club welcomes Udinese to Anfield in the second Europa League group stage match.
Shelvey’s ban doesn’t affect Europa League, as it is not a domestic competition. This means that he will be unavailable for selection against Stoke City on Sunday, when the two sides meet at Anfield on Sunday. Knowing Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’ tendency to mix the squad up, there is little doubt he will have trouble filling his role when the time comes.
For this match, Rodgers will look to guide the side to its second win in as many tries in Europa League, potentially giving the squad a commanding lead in the group, as well as one step closer to the knockout round. Despite some mistakes in the 5-3 away win against BSC Young Boys, the younger players look both motivated and able to put on a show. It will be important in this competition, as the Reds’ next opponent could be tricky.
Udinese is not the same side that finished third in Serie A last season. The club’s starting goalkeeper Samir Handanovic now plays for Inter Milan, while midfielders Kwadwo Asamoah and Mauricio Isla moved on to Juventus. Despite these transfers, the club still has Italian international Antonio Di Natale, who may prove to be the main threat the Reds need to manage during this match. Di Natale may be heading into the twilight of his career, but the forward has the potential to be quite dangerous in attack.
The Friulian club drew Anzhi Makhachkala 1-1 on the first matchday of the group stage, but currently sits 15th in Serie A after six matches. The last match the club played in the league was a 0-0 draw v Genoa, in which Di Natale did not play due to a locker room dispute.
Liverpool’s squad could feature Joe Cole, who will be fit for the match. Cole scored in his first match back for the reserves earlier this week, and an appearance against Udinese could help him work his way back into the first team for league matches. If healthy, Cole may not only be able to provide a valuable part in attack for the side, but he also may help serve as a positive influence for the youngsters on the pitch.
In the United States, fans can watch the match live on Fox Soccer. The next Europa League fixture for Liverpool will be against Anzhi on October 25. The next Premier League match will be against Stoke City, at 1000 ET/1500 GMT.
Liverpool v Udinese
When: Thursday, October 4, 1505 ET/2005 GMT
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Previous Europa League Match: Young Boys 3-5 Liverpool, Udinese 1-1 Anzhi
Projected Udinese Starting 11
DEF: Coda, Danilo, Domizzi
MID: Pereyra, Lazzari, Pinzi, Badu, Pasquale
FW: Ranegie, Di Natale
Subs from: Padelli, Pawlowski, Benatia, Heurtaux, Armero, Faraoni, Willians, Fabrini
Projected Liverpool Starting 11
DEF: Robinson, Coates, Carragher, Wisdom
MID: Shelvey, Henderson, Sahin
FW: Assaidi, Borini, Suso
Subs from: Gulasci, Flanagan, Carragher, Morgan, Sterling, Coady, Cole, Yesil, Downing, Borini
Interact: What’s your projected lineup and final score prediction? Comment below.