Liverpool and Tottenham go in search of Europa qualification wins

Updated: December 6, 2012

Liverpool need to win, Spurs need to avoid losing and Newcastle have the luxury of blooding some youngsters in tonight’s last group matches of the Europa League.

The Reds are currently second in the group and a win over Udinese, who are already out, will ensure their progression into the knockout stages.

A draw could be good enough if Young Boys fail to beat Anzhi, but a defeat in Italy will mean an early exit from Europe for Brendan Rodgers’ side even if Young Boys also lose as as the Swiss side would be top of a three-way head-to-head involving the Reds and Udinese.

Rodgers has named a strong squad with Luis Suarez set to start as he is suspended for this weekend’s Premier League clash with West Ham. Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is missing through illness, while Daniel Agger and Lucas Leiva have been rested.

Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin could rest a number of his top stars as he looks to concentrate on Serie A. If Antonio Di Natale plays he will equal Valerio Bertotto’s Udinese record of 33 appearances in UEFA club competition. Giampiero Pinzi is available again after injury as Udinese look to end a run of three straight defeats in the Europa League.

Andre Villas-Boas’ side are currently in second spot in Group J with Panathinaikos needing a win at White Hart to reach the last 32. Spurs go into the game in fine form having won their last three Premier League games on the spin and they will be looking to maintain that momentum. Villas-Boas will have to make do without star man Gareth Bale after he picked up a hamstring injury against Fulham last time out. Michael Dawson is also absent after he was forced off with an injury in the win at Fulham. Scott Parker made his long-awaited return from Achilles surgery for the reserves in midweek, but he will not be risked against Panathinaikos. Younes Kaboul and Benoit Assou-Ekotto both remain long-term absentees with knee injuries. Emmanuel Adebayor is available as he is only serving a domestic ban following his sending off against Arsenal recently.

Panathinaikos coach Juan Roman Rocha has no fresh injury concerns to deal with as they look to keep their European ambitions alive. Spanish striker Toche, who is the club’s top scorer in Europe this term, could return to the starting line-up to lead the attack. Ibrahim Sissoko is also set to start for the Greek side as they plan to go on the attack at White Hart Lane.

Alan Pardew’s side are already through to the last 32 along with Bordeaux, who currently top the group by one point from Newcastle. Youngsters Conor Newton and Yven Moyo are among a 20-man squad with Nile Ranger, Adam Campbell, Mehdi Abeid also set to be involved. Pardew will rest most of his top stars with next Monday’s clash with Fulham in mind, but Tim Krul, Papiss Cisse, Fabricio Coloccini, Danny Simpson and Mike Williamson have all made the trip. Gael Bigirimana is set to start after coming off the bench to score in Monday’s win over Wigan. Striker Shola Ameobi could feature against the French side after recovering from a groin problem but injured trio Davide Santon (groin), Cheick Tiote and Demba Ba (both hamstring) did not travel.