Having taken a 1-0 slender lead in the first leg at Anfield, Brendan Rodgers’s message to Liverpool ahead of the Reds second leg Europa League Round of 32 tie with Besiktas at the Ataturk Stadium will be simple – ‘don’t concede and you’ll qualify.’
Liverpool’s visit to Ataturk stadium will bring back good old memories for the Reds, as it is on this venue they registered one of the greatest comeback of all times in the Champions League and claimed their 5th European title beating AC Milan in 2005.
Mario Balotelli scored the winner from penalty in the corresponding fixture, but skipper Steven Gerrard criticized him for having taken the ball from on-field captain Jordan Henderson.
The Reds backed up that victory with a 2-0 victory over Southampton that takes them to a 10-match unbeaten run in the Premier League.
Rodgers’ side is in the middle of a tough-run of fixtures with Manchester City about to visit Anfield next on Sunday followed by another crucial Premier League fixture against Burnley on Wednesday, as Liverpool continue to make their surge towards securing the top four spot.
Liverpool Team News
Lazar Markovic faces his second games of his four-match suspension.
Henderson and Philippe Coutinho have not travelled to Turkey. The England international didn’t train due to minor ankle injury but should be ready to face Manchester City. Coutinho, who has played 20 games at a stretch, was given a timely rest.
Mamadou Sakho who missed Liverpool’s last match against Southampton has yet to recover while Glen Johnson hasn’t travelled through illness.
Kolo Toure therefore is expected to feature in defence allowing Emre Can to move forward in the midfield.
Prediction: 1-1; Besiktas are missing out several key players for this tie. They need to go for an all out attack which will leave space for Liverpool to counter. If the Reds defend properly and get a goal somehow, they are sure to progress to the next rounds.