Besiktas vs Liverpool | Europa League Preview

Besiktas vs Liverpool | Europa League Preview

Besiktas will need to secure win against Liverpool on Thursday if they are going to proceed in the Europa League this season. The Turkish side’s preparation for the second leg wasn’t fantastic as they succumbed to a shock 1-0 defeat to Eskisehrispor on Sunday allowing title rivals Galatasaray to knock them off top spot. The visitors meanwhile kept momentum positive as they ran out 2-0 winners at St Mary’s in crunch tie with Champions League hopefuls Southampton. Besiktas have beaten Liverpool on Turkish soil in the two side’s only meeting in the country, and Slaven Bilic will be looking to emulate the performance Besiktas managed back in October 2007. It is well documented that playing in front of a Besiktas crowd is no easy task with their passionate fans really giving credence to the idea of a 12th man. Rodgers’ side got the important victory and clean sheet they wanted in the home tie, meaning that a draw is enough for them on Tuesday if they are to continue their Europa League journey.

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Team News

The home side has more than a few problems to contend with heading into their crunch second leg tie with Liverpool. Besiktas’ main man Demba Ba sat out the sides 1-0 defeat to Eskisehrispor on Sunday due to a calf injury and the Senegalese striker is an injury doubt for the game on Thursday. The Turkish league hopefuls are set to be without both left-back Ramon Motta and centre-back Ersan Gulum due to suspension after they were both booked at Anfield. First choice stopper Tolga Zengin continues to miss out with a knee injury so Cenk Gonen will continue to fill his place in the Besiktas goal.

Lazar Markovic will still be serving part of his suspension for the round of 32 second leg. Rodgers could continue to be without Captain Steven Gerrard who could have another week to go until he returns to the starting 11. Defender Sakho missed the game with Southampton on Sunday and is expected to be missing for the away trip. Daniel Sturridge was rested for the majority of the league game on Sunday, so it would be wise to expect a return to the first 11 for the England international unless Rodgers deems Balotelli’s penalty in the first leg enough to secure him a starting berth.

Interesting Statistics

  • Besiktas won the last time the two sides met in Turkey. Besiktas were 2-1 winners back in October 2007.
  • The two sides have met 3 times in the past, Besiktas have conceded 10 goals in those 3 matches.
  • Liverpool have never failed to score in a game against Besiktas.
  • Liverpool have only lost once in their last 18 games, winning 12 of those in the process.
  • Moreno is a yellow card away from missing the first leg of the round of 16 having already picked up 2 yellows in the Champions League group stage.

Key Players

Besiktas: Gokhan Tore

Former Chelsea alumni Gokhan Tore will have the home side’s expectations on his shoulders for the second leg. With Demba Ba set to miss out the Turkish wide man should be looking to shine as key member of Bilic’s side. With 3 goals in this season’s Europa League already he has shown that he isn’t shy of a goal when needed; he also has 3 league goals this season. Tore’s quality has seen him go from Leverkusen to Hamburg via Stamford Bridge and a brief stint with Rubin Kazan. Now settled in his native Turkey, Tore is starting to show the quality these sides expected when signing him. At 23, he is still early in his career but getting to a stage where a high level of performance will be expected. If he can help his side back from 1-0 defeat in the first leg to progression in the Europa League you can imagine the high esteem he will be held in by the Besiktas fans and even other teams around Europe.

Liverpool: Daniel Sturridge

The England striker’s return to the Liverpool side has been a welcome sight for the supporters. Since his return he has only managed to find the net once in the league, coming on as a sub against West Ham for his first appearance since August. Having been rested for the majority of the match against Southampton you can imagine he will be chomping at the bit to get back in amongst the goals for his side. With the run in for top four set to come down to wire with numerous teams in the running, Sturridge’s goals for Liverpool will be pivotal to their success. Sturridge should see the game against Besiktas as his chgance to start a big run of goal scoring form to help, not only his personal records for the season, but his side’s place in both the Europa League and Premier League.

Prediction

Liverpool got by in the first leg thanks to a late penalty. Given Liverpool’s inability to put Besiktas’ defence to the sword in the first leg the Turkish side will be hopeful of getting a positive result in the home leg. However, with the suspension’s the side face, coupled with their injury troubles, it’s easier to envision the away side progressing from the match. Demba Ba missing out will be a huge disappointment for the side as he is their main goal threat and its game where they will need to score a couple. Daniel Sturridge should be looking to get his first European goal for his side on Thursday and setting his goal scoring form in motion. I can see this game being a tense score draw

1-1 Draw