Roy Hodgson’s reign as Liverpool manager so nearly got off to the perfect start on Sunday, though the former Fulham boss, who enjoyed such great success in the Europa League last term, will now hope his first success in the Reds’ dugout comes against Trabzonspor. Faced with Arsenal on the opening day of the Premier League, David Ngog shot ‘Pool into the lead early in the second half, despite Joe Cole having been sent-off in the first period. Only a Pepe Reina error late on denied Hodgson’s men three points and they will be expected to immediately bounce back on Thursday.
Trabzonspor will provide significant opposition. As the most successful non-Istanbul based Turkish outfit, much of the nation will be backing the six-time Super Lig champions, who qualified for the competition as cup winners last term. Like Liverpool, Bordo-Mavililer only has one competitive game under their belts this term, though unlike Liverpool they can boast that to be a victory. Teofilo Gutierrez grabbed a brace as Ankaragucu were defeated 2-0 at the weekend, getting the Black Sea Storm immediately into the winning habit. Thursday’s foes will be a big step up in comparison to the side that finished in the lower reaches of the Turkish standings last term.
Roy Hodgson doesn’t have any injury or suspension worries going into this game. He may choose to give Joe Cole some additional time on the pitch as the former Chelsea man prepares to sit out a three-game domestic ban, but there could otherwise be a fair degree of rotation employed by the Cottagers’ boss.
Christian Poulsen isn’t eligible and with Fernando Torres struggling for peak fitness it’s unlikely the Spaniard will be seen.
Probable Starting XI: Cavalieri; Kelly, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Agger; Kuyt, Leiva, Cole, Rodriguez; Babel, Ngog
Senul Gunhes hasn’t registered any selection worries going into this encounter, and it’s unlikely that he will make big changes from the weekend squad.
Probable Starting XI: Kivrak; Balci, Glowacki, Korkmaz, Cale; Colman, Gulselam, Inan; Yilmaz, Gutierrez, Alanzinho