Liverpool sit second despite their loss away to Anzhi a fortnight ago and victory against Young Boys on Thursday could ensure the Reds qualify, while Newcastle and Spurs have similar situations in their groups and we might yet see an English name on the trophy this term.
Lazio v Tottenham 18.00
The top two teams in Group J meet at the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday night, with Tottenham likely to field a second-string team for the match considering they are struggling for points in the Premier League and have the small matter of a London derby against West Ham on Sunday.
Spurs are 11/5 (Betfred free bets) to win in Italy although Andre Villas-Boas must surely consider giving his key players a rest considering they were given the runaround by Arsenal in the north London derby last weekend after Emmanuel Adebayor had received his marching orders for a stupid red card.
Lazio will want to seal their place in the last 32 with a game to spare and they look a decent price at 7/5 (bet365) to claim all three points with the Rome team having won four of their six games at home in Serie A this season.
Vladimir Petković saw his team earn a very creditable 0-0 draw at Juventus on Saturday following on from home wins against Panathinaikos and Roma, with Miroslav Klose having now scored double figures for the season and the German is 6/1 to break the deadlock in this match.
Tottenham have drawn their other two away matches in Group J and you can get odds of 12/5 that this game ends all square, with Spurs’ fringe players likely to try and impress their manager including Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Liverpool v Young Boys 20.05
Brendan Rodgers has entrusted several young boys with first-team places in the team this season and they will face a Swiss team with that very name on Thursday night, with Liverpool inching towards a last 32 spot in the competition.
Whisper it quietly but Liverpool are starting to build up a head of steam at the moment and Saturday’s 3-0 win against Wigan was their finest home performance of the season, with the manager now hoping to put together of string of good results before the transfer window re-opens.
The Merseyside team are a best price 4/9 (Paddy Power free bets) to beat Young Boys on Thursday, just as they did by a 5-3 scoreline earlier in the season and Rodgers is likely to give Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard a night off and entrust others to bring home the bacon.
Adam Morgan could well lead the line and is a 6/1 chance to score first, while Samed Yesil is available at a similar price and we all know that Jonjo Shelvey is likely to pour forward at every opportunity.
We might well see the visitors go for broke in this match and they have also amassed six points from their first four matches which includes home and away wins against Udinese. The Swiss side can be backed at 8/1 (BetVictor) to win their third consecutive Europa League match and we should expect a few goals to be scored at Anfield.
Newcastle United v Maritimo 20.05
Newcastle haven’t exactly fallen in love with this competition and Alan Pardew currently has bigger fish to fry considering the Magpies have crashed to back-to-back defeats at St James’ Park in the Premier League.
Sunday’s trip to Southampton now takes on a different meaning for United and the manager won’t be risking too many first players for the visit of Portuguese opponents who have just two points on the board from their opening four matches.
Newcastle are 4/9 to claim victory and reach the last 32 stage which will then allow Pardew to work out a way of gaining more points in the Premier League as the club looks to attain the same heights as last season where they finished in the top six.
With most of the first team likely to be missing, perhaps the 15/4 draw represents the best bet on the night, with Maritimo having played out a goalless draw against the same opponents and they were only narrowly beaten by Bordeaux a fortnight ago.
It could be another outing for the Ameobi brothers and Sammy looks a decent bet at 13/2 to score first In this game with older sibling Shola on offer at 5/1 to break the deadlock.