Europa League preview: In-form Liverpool look for more
By Football News
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