Bordeaux - Liverpool Preview: Domestic troubles left at home as Reds begin European campaign

Liverpool get their Europa League journey underway on Thursday evening, as they travel to France to face Ligue 1 side Bordeaux in Group B.

After an extremely mixed start to their Premier League campaign, the pressure is on Brendan Rodgers to deliver after two consecutive losses, against West Ham and Manchester United.

Defensive momentum built up by consecutive clean-sheets in their opening three league games was blown away with horrific performances against the Hammers and United, as the Reds conceded six goals in two games, with just one to show for themselves.

This has led to certain fans beginning to turn on Rodgers once again, with the Ulsterman making, what are claimed to be, some bizarre tactical decisions and substitutions recently.

The latest of which being using Roberto Firmino and Danny Ings as wingers against United, with no apparent gameplan other than to nick a 0-0 seeing Liverpool crumble and lose 3-1.

Now though, he faces the conundrum of how to approach the Europa League. Europe's secondary club competition has often been regarded as a distraction by the so called 'larger' teams, however the new prize of a Champions League place for the winner gives added incentive.

Poor league form must be Liverpool's main concern, and they may simply rest players in order to have a fitter outlook for Sunday's home game agaisnt Norwich, however picking a full strength team and winning convincingly could be just what they need in terms of picking up momentum again.

Team news

There have been big changes in terms of the Liverpool squad, with a large number of senior players not flying to France with the squad.

Christian Benteke, Dejan Lovren, Martin Skrtel, James Milner, Jordan Henderson, Nathaniel Clyne and Lucas Leiva will all miss out, whilst the game will come too soon for Daniel Sturridge as he continues his recovery from injury.

Philippe Coutinho will return to the squad, after being suspended for the United game, whilst Mamadou Sakho is in line for a start, after Rodgers revealed that the club want to extend his contract.

Youngsters such as Jordan Rossiter and Pedro Chivirella have also flown out, and will be keen to impress if they're given the chance.

Predicted XI: Bogdan, Gomez, Toure, Sakho, Moreno, Can, Rossiter, Ibe, Coutinho, Ings, Origi.

The opposition

Although Liverpool are favourites for the game, Bordeaux have reason to be confident, especially given their early season form.

Three draws and one win in Ligue 1 don't look like the most impressive results, but they're yet to be beaten, and earned a very credible 2-2 draw away against giants PSG at the weekend.

However, they weren't so impressive in their start to this competiton, scraping through on away goals against minnows Kairat Almaty in the play-off round, after a 2-2 aggregate draw.

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