FC Utrecht vs Liverpool

FC Utrecht vs Liverpool Preview


FC Utrecht coach Ton du Chatinier admits Liverpool pose far tougher opposition than the Celtic team they beat before.

But the Dutchman, with a little help from the other half of the Old Firm, hopes his side will draw inspiration from playing the five-time European champions.
Utrecht dispatched Celtic 4-0 on home turf in their Europa League play-off, having been 2-0 down from the first leg at Parkhead.
Liverpool may currently be struggling in the Barclays Premier League but they have not lost to Dutch opposition since their first encounter in 1966 when Ajax won 5-0 in Amsterdam.
Du Chatinier knows tomorrow's Group K encounter will be tough, especially as counterpart Roy Hodgson has brought almost a full-strength squad.
As a result they have explored every avenue available to them in their preparations, including assistant manager Jan Wouters calling in a favour from his former Rangers boss and current Birmingham manager Alex McLeish.
"Liverpool are a better team than Celtic, with all respect," said the Utrecht boss.
"We have asked people in England and Jan has spoken to Alex McLeish.
"We've watched Liverpool's home game against Steaua Bucharest (a 4-1 win) and the match at Manchester United (a 3-2 defeat)."
Du Chatinier's squad will watch the second half - undoubtedly the better 45 minutes as they fought back from 2-0 down - of Liverpool's defeat at Old Trafford again tonight.
But the squad have an air of confidence as they are unbeaten at the Stadion Galgenwaard in four European games, having not conceded in the last three.
And the manager does not expect to have to motivate his players.
"There's no need to show my players pictures of Rambo (the Sylvester Stallone character who is an expert in one-man warfare)," added Du Chatinier.
"The motivation of playing Liverpool will be enough.
"I am anxious to know what my team will do but that is normal, I'm not afraid."
Ghanian midfielder Nana Asare will miss tomorrow's game through injury but striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel, who has scored six times in seven Europa League matches, will play.
Liverpool manager Hodgson will not guarantee striker Fernando Torres a starting place tomorrow but admits his presence in the squad is something of an insurance policy.
The Spain international has not featured in Europe this season - sitting out the four qualifying matches and one Group K encounter - but travelled to Holland with a virtually-full strength squad.
Only Steven Gerrard, who is being rested, and Daniel Agger, who has had an MRI scan on a groin problem which has not responded to treatment, missed the trip.
But Hodgson said it should not be assumed Torres would automatically take his place up front but revealed he had learned a harsh lesson after the Carling Cup exit to League Two side Northampton.
A week ago the Reds boss gave his first-choice side the night off but then saw a second-string lose on penalties.
Hodgson admitted that, in hindsight, it would have been worth having some quality players in reserve - hence the presence of Torres and most of the first team.
"The mere fact he is here does not mean he will be in the starting XI," said the 62-year-old.
"When you are playing against Northampton and it is 1-1 and you are not playing very well you are desperate to change the game.
"You look around you and realise you have given all the quality players time off to prepare for the game on Saturday and you would like desperately to bring on maybe one of those players - that is one of the things that has affected my thinking."


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