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April 21, 2021

Unirea fights for last chance to stay in Europa League

Liverpool’s narrow 1-0 win over Romanian champions Unirea Urziceni at Anfield last week has left this Europa League tie wide open. The match will be played tonight on Bucharest’s Steaua stadium, some 60 kilometres away from Unirea’s home, but with a partisan crowd expected, Liverpool will have their work cut out if they are to secure a last 16 tie with either Lille or Fenerbahce, goal.com comments.

There is plenty of good news on the injury front for Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez. Both Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun made surprise returns to action in last Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Manchester City, though of the two, the Israeli looks most likely for a starting berth. Torres managed just 18 minutes at Eastlands, and on an uneven pitch away from home, is unlikely to be risked – from the start at least. The forward berth should once again go to either young Frenchman David Ngog – who missed the City game with a twisted ankle – or Ryan Babel, who replaced him at Eastlands.

Maxi Rodriguez is ineligible for European fixtures, so his wide-midfield role should be filled by either the inconsistent Albert Riera, or the returning Benayoun. Alberto Aquilani started the first game between these two sides, but Lucas Leiva’s more solid approach should be preferred in a game Liverpool only need to draw. Defensively, Benitez may opt to start Fabio Aurelio ahead of Emiliano Insua at left-back, the Brazilian did well in the first leg, and offers a set-piece threat which could be decisive. Sotirios Kyrgiakos is available after his domestic ban, but Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger will continue in the centre of defence, with Jamie Carragher at right-back, as Glen Johnson is still a few weeks away from fitness.

Unirea officials stated on Wednesday that around 16 000 tickets for the game were already sold. 2000 tickets were available for Liperpool supporters. The game is shedulded for 20.00, Romanian time.

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