Liverpool, Newcastle plan to join Spurs in Europa League group stage
PARIS - Agence France-Presse
Luis Suarez (L) and Steven Gerrard celebrate a Liverpool goal against Manchester City. AFP photoLiverpool and Newcastle United head into the second legs of their Europa League playoff ties well-placed to join compatriots Tottenham Hotspur in tomorrow’s draw for the group stage.
The Reds face Hearts at Anfield tonight looking to build on their 1-0 advantage from the first leg in Edinburgh, seized thanks to a late own goal from Andy Webster.
Despite taking just one point from its opening two Premier League games, there is something of a feel-good factor at Anfield after Turkey midfielder Nuri Şahin completed his move to the club on a season-long loan from Real Madrid this week.
The captain of Borussia Dortmund’s German title-winning team two seasons ago may not feature tonight, but manager Brendan Rodgers could choose to hand starts to some of his more senior players in a bid to get the job done.
Newcastle did well to take a 1-1 draw from the first leg of its tie against Atromitos in Athens last week after coach Alan Pardew decided to leave a whole host of regular starters on the sidelines.
Inter Milan takes a 2-0 lead back to San Siro for the second leg of their tie with Vaslui of Romania, and last season’s runner-up Athletic Bilbao heads to Finland with its progress all but secure after hammering HJK Helsinki 6-0 last week.
Athletic’s fellow Spaniards Levante, along with the likes of Lazio and PSV Eindhoven, also seems nailed-on to take its place in the draw in Monaco.