Liverpool, Newcastle eye Europa League progress

Updated: 29 August 2012 11:28 IST

Liverpool and Newcastle United head into the second legs of their Europa League play-off ties well-placed to join compatriots Tottenham Hotspur in Friday's draw for the group stage.

Liverpool, Newcastle eye Europa League progress

Paris:

Liverpool and Newcastle United head into the second legs of their Europa League play-off ties well-placed to join compatriots Tottenham Hotspur in Friday's draw for the group stage.


The Reds face Hearts at Anfield on Thursday 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 their opening two Premier League games, there is something of a feel-good factor at Anfield after Turkey midfielder Nuri Sahin 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 on Thursday, but manager Brendan Rodgers could choose to hand starts to some of his more senior players in a bid to get the job done.

"Anything can happen, a corner or a free-kick can go in, but if we get the next goal then we'll be in a good position," said Liverpool's Scottish midfielder Charlie Adam after the first leg.

Meanwhile, Newcastle did well to take a 1-1 draw from the first leg of their tie against Atromitos in Athens last week after coach Alan Pardew decided to leave a whole host of regular starters on the sidelines.

That makes them the favourites to finish things off at St James' Park, but midfielder Dan Gosling had a warning ahead of the Magpies' first home European match in over five years.

"Hopefully we can go on to win the game, but we can't take it for granted," the former Everton man told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle.

"We have to go out there and do it. This is a different game. It was quite warm in the first leg, and the pitch was quite dry, which didn't help us to pass the ball.

"We'd have liked to have got the second goal, and won the game, but we'll take a 1-1 draw back home. Hopefully, we'll progress."

Inter Milan take a 2-0 lead back to San Siro for the second leg of their tie with Vaslui of Romania, and last season's runners-up Athletic Bilbao head to Finland with their 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 seem nailed-on to take their place in the draw in Monaco, but several ties remain finely poised.

Bordeaux host former European champions Red Star Belgrade after the two clubs played out a goalless draw in the Serbian capital last week, while Feyenoord -- who won the UEFA Cup as recently as 2002 -- go to Sparta Prague with work to do after a 2-2 stalemate in Rotterdam.

Elsewhere, Guus Hiddink takes his Anzhi Makhachkala side -- Samuel Eto'o included -- to his native Netherlands to face AZ Alkmaar, with the Russians a goal to the good.

The 31 play-off round winners will join 17 other sides in Friday's draw for the group stage, including current holders Atletico Madrid, Tottenham and the 10 clubs eliminated from the Champions League play-offs.



Topics : Football Liverpool Newcastle United
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