Kickoff from Alvalade Stadium at 8:00PM GMT/3:00PM EST
If you're looking for Suarez-FA discussion, scroll down. Otherwise, the football.
Ways to Watch:
Wisdom Sama McGiveron Smith
Ngoo Adorjan Sterling
Bench: Stephens, Sokolik, McLaughlin, Pelosi, Suso, Silva
Esgaio Edgar Ilori Pinto
Eduardo Bruma Teixiera
Vitinho Chaby Mederios
Bench: Durrte, Serredo, Simoes, Agostinho, Mateus, Mane, Etock
As I mentioned yesterday, progression's already secured for both Sporting and Liverpool, with the former running away with the Group 2 lead, stumbling only with a draw in their trip to Germany to face Wolfsburg. At times the latter looked like one of the better sides in the competition, but with finishing sorely lacking at times, they had to rely on some late-round results---the draw between Molde and Wolfsburg basically secured it---to ensure passage to the knockout stages.
The Portuguese side have been spectacular throughout the competition, scoring plenty of goals along the way and playing an attractive, effective brand of football en route to the joint-highest point total, goals scored, and goal differential. Last time out they let in a few more than usual, with two late Molde goals leading to a nervy finish. The rest of their results have been mostly comfortable, and with a chance to cement themselves as the top team in the competition points-wise, they'll have plenty to play for today.
We've had a long break from NextGen Series football for Rodolfo Borrell's Liverpool squad---the competition as a whole slowed down quite a bit once October hit, but for the young Reds it's been over a month and a half since they last featured. It was a frustratingly familiar sight for the first hour as Liverpool grew in dominance but couldn't get the goal they needed. Only after Adam Morgan's introduction and a few more missed chances did the hosts get their breakthrough, eventually putting three past a resolute but ultimately overmatched Molde side.
Dropped points in the group stage don't really deserve any focus at this point, with the top spot secured for Sporting and Liverpool guaranteed a place in the next round. But in a match against opposition that's proven to be a different class, the emphasis on finishing chances can't be ignored.
With six days separating today's match and the next reserve fixture on November 22nd, you'd imagine that Borrell will be picking a full-strength side; Tyrell Belford's been a mainstay in goal, while some combination of Matty McGiveron, Ryan McLaughlin, Andre Wisdom, Stephen Sama, and Brad Smith have featured in every match so far. Familiar faces through the midfield and forward areas as well, with captain Conor Coady and Craig Roddan anchoring the midfield, and Suso, Raheem Sterling, and Toni Silva providing support for Michael Ngoo. Adam Morgan's made only one start in the competition (the opening loss to Sporting), but is likely to feature at some point given the impact he's had.
Whoever we see, it's a safe bet that today's match will be plenty watchable, with two sides that have more than enough talent to provide a nice advertisement for the competition.