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Matchday: Liverpool v. Unirea

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europa league

Afterthought? Maybe. But it's here, it's queer, and it ain't goin' nowhere.

And just to clarify, queer as in strange.



Carragher Skrtel Agger Aurelio
Mascherano Aquilani
Kuyt Gerrard Riera

Bench: Cavalieri, Kyrgiakos, Babel, Lucas, Insua, Degen, Pacheco.


Maftei Galamaz Bruno Fernandes Brandan
Paraschiv Onofras Paduretu Apostol
Frunza Bilasco

Bench: Tudor, Mehmedovic, Rusescu, Nicu, Vilana, Marinescu, Bordeanu.

In the run-up:

It's not the most reassuring of statements, but at least Rafa is honest when he says that it's "difficult to say" how Liverpool will respond to the unique challenge presented by the Europa League. Of course, most that challenge comes in the form of a bruised ego, which Liverpool have been coping with for most of the season. One of the more encouraging signs heading into the match, mentioned in the second paragraph, is that 40,000 are expected (apparently confirmed by the Times as well). Nothing could be worse than a 0-0 draw in front of a half-full Anfield, so let's hope the performance and support are kicked up a notch.

And a somewhat standard rallying cry from Steven Gerrard, who reminisces about the glory days when he and Gerard Houllier gave each an awkward high ten/chest bump after winning the UEFA Cup in 2001. Anytime those two things are involved, you can count me in.

For the visual learners, there's some pictures on the official site of the squad in training. I like what I'm seeing---Martin Kelly back in the mix, the Greek about to turn a Europa League ball into dust, and Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt dicking around in no less than two pictures. There's some concern in the comments section that Aquilani isn't in any of the pictures, so allow me to refute those incorrect observations. You'll find him in the second picture, just over Fabio Aurelio's right shoulder. No, his right. There you go. I think we all know Alberto doesn't have the coverboy face, so maybe a feature pic isn't the best thing to settle our stomachs. Wise move, official site lemming.

Mirror Football takes a stab at identifying Unirea Urziceni on another level, with somewhat laughable results. First they had the side as "Urinea," which has since been corrected. But the real gold mine here isn't the facts about the Romanian champions, which include bombshells like they're "a football team from Urziceni" and "We couldn't find any decent footage of Unirea Urziceni in action on YouTube, but we turn up this brilliant footage of former Arsenal keeper and all-round loon Jens Lehmann urinating behind his goal during Stuttgart's Champions League game against the Romanians in December 2009." Odds are they couldn't find YouTube footage because they were typing it in as "Urinea Urziceni" instead of, you know, the team's actual name. Anyway, the best bits here are in the comments section, particularly from some hero named "Liverpenise." His input on the article: "you are not an jurnalist you are an brown rezults of eating. sorry for my english." Legendary.

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