Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Steven Beacom: D-Day fast approaching for Benitez and Liverpool

You know those great European nights at Anfield? Well, don’t expect one this evening.

While Manchester United have beaten AC Milan this week and Chelsea are relishing the prospect of meeting Inter Milan next week in the Champions League, Liverpool must try and raise themselves for the visit of little known Unirea Urziceni in the Europa League.

The Romanians sound more like an embarrassing disease than a football team.

But then embarrassment is nothing new to Liverpool in a season in which they have been downright dreadful.

It’s true that any competition you are involved in is worth winning, but for Rafael Benitez (pictured) and his players, playing in the Europa League is a bit like being thrown out of the biggest and best party around because of your own stupidity, then gazing jealously through the window as the fun really starts before being thrown a tiny slice of stale cake.

Maybe the game has come at a good time for the Reds because it will give them a glimpse into what could be a bleak future ahead of their most important game of the season — a Premier League clash at Manchester City.

Spurs and Villa are in the running for an invite to next season’s Champions League, but ultimately it will come down to City and Liverpool.

With City one point clear and with a game in hand, Liverpool cannot afford to lose at Eastlands on Sunday. In fact, they really must go and win. Otherwise while United and Chelsea enjoy the big banquet, Liverpool will have to get used to feeding off Europa League scraps.

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