Besiktas vs Liverpool: Three things to watch out for



Liverpool face Besiktas in the second leg of the Round 32 Europa League tie at the Ataturk Stadium where the Reds will swiftly progress to the next round should they do not concede on the night in Istanbul.

The Reds are leading the tie 1-0, after Mario Balotelli gave them the lead through penalty in the first leg at Anfield.

Rodgers has to make several changes for the match due to injuries to several key players and the upcoming big Premier League clash with Manchester City on Sunday.

Young Guns to deliver 

We have seen in the past that Rodgers is not afraid of pushing young players in big games and here again the Reds manager is relying on his young guns to deliver.

Istanbul brings happy memory for Liverpool as it is on this venue the Reds won the 5th European title beating AC Milan in 2005.

The atmosphere is bound to intimidating, but Rodgers says his young players (Sterling, Ibe, Can, Moreno) will not be unfazed playing in front of a 75,000 sell out crowd.

“Young players have no fear in situations like this,” Rodgers said to Liverpool Echo.

“It is why I always look to young players. They can go on to that field and play with that freedom and actually enjoy it.

“It will be a tough game. Besiktas have lost two on the spin which is unusual for them, so they will want to put that right. But as you can imagine, my team is very confident.

“We will see what the atmosphere is like. Their old ground was very intimidating, but at this one there is a bit of room, there is a gap between the fans and the field itself.”

Liverpool will be missing key players like Steven Gerrard, Lucas Leiva, Jordan Henderson et al, but at the same time it presents an opportunity for the young players to step up and show their mettle.

Big night for Dejan Lovren 

Lovren joined Liverpool on a big money transfer from Southampton in the summer but has failed to live up to the expectations so far.

His first season hasn’t worked out well forcing Rodgers to drop him from the first team in recent months. He started against Southampton in place of Mamadou Sakho and did a fair-enough job as Liverpool kept another clean sheet.

Sakho is expected to be absent today and therefore Lovren has another chance to impress his manager.

On a night when Liverpool need to keep a clean sheet to progress, the defenders and especially Lovren need to be on top of their game. Big night for the Croatian that could shape his Liverpool future.

Make full use of chances available 

Talking about keeping a clean sheet, Liverpool have kept five in last six away games, but with a new defensive set up in place, the back three will be severely tested forcing the them to make errors.

At the other end of the pitch, Liverpool have no shortage of attacking firepower, with the likes of Sturridge, Sterling, Ibe and Lallana all capable of scoring.

Liverpool need to be more clinical in front of goal and with Sturridge returning and rejuvenated Mario Balotelli on the bench, the Reds must score to put themselves in a comfortable position even if they concede.

An early goal will put the home side under tremendous pressure and even if the home side score twice on the night, the Reds will still progress through away goal rules. Easy equation.

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