Europa League preview: Liverpool, Tottenham begin quest for glory


Both Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur kick off their Europa League campaigns on Thursday’s as the Premier League’s representatives in UEFA’s second-tier continental competition.

Brendan Rodgers and Mauricio Pochettino will both be eyeing an opportunity to enter the backdoor of next season’s UEFA Champions League, as the winner of the Europa League is handed a spot in the UCL for the following season. Both Liverpool (1973, ’76, ’01) and Spurs (1971, ’84) have won this competition in the past in its old format of straight knockout.

[ MORE: Europa League schedule ]

Liverpool and Spurs both exited the competition at the Last 32 stage last time out, but in terms of boosting England’s UEFA co-efficient and making sure the PL retains its four PL spots and two automatic Europa League spots, there will be a lot of pressure on both clubs to succeed not only from within but from their PL competitors. Southampton and West Ham both fell in the Europa League qualifying rounds, further hurting the chances of boosting that all-important co-efficient, so Liverpool and Spurs will be flying the flag for the PL on a Thursday night throughout this season.

[ MORE: Europa League standings ]  

However, Rodgers has upset plenty of people with his decision to rest six first team regulars — Lovren, Skrtel, Clyne, Benteke, Milner, Lucas — for Liverpool’s trip to Bordeaux in their Group B opener, while Pochettino is also likely to leave out plenty of Spurs’ regular starters when Qarabag come to town for the Group J clash.

Below is a list of the games taking place on Thursday, while you can click on the link above to follow all the games live via our scoreboard.

Europa League schedule

Bordeaux vs. Liverpool – 1 p.m. ET
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Qarabag – 3:05 p.m. ET
Ajax vs. Celtic
Fenerbache vs. Molde
Anderlecht vs. Monaco
APOEL vs. Schalke
Asteras Tripolis vs. Sparta Prague
Atheltic Bilbao vs. FC Augsburg
Partizan Belgrade vs. AZ Alkmaar
FC Sion vs. Rubin Kazan
Borussia Dortmund vs. FK Krasnodar
FK Qabala vs. PAOK Salonika
FC Midtjylland vs. Legia Warsaw
Napoli vs. Club Brugge
SK Rapid Vienna vs. Villarreal
Viktoria Pilzen vs. Dinamo Minsk
FC Groningen vs. Marseille
Slovan Liberec vs. Sporting Braga
Dnipro vs. Lazio
St Etienne vs. Rosenborg
Skenderbreu Korce vs. Besiktas
Sporting Lisbon vs. Lokomotiv Moscow
Fiorentina vs. FC Basel
Lech Poznan vs. Belenenses